To Stud or Not to Stud

Yesterday’s holiday was perfect inspiration for today’s topic: animal babies! Animals play a large role on my farm – chickens and ducks provide eggs, goats provide milk, cats keep the rodent population down, and dogs run security. Responsible farming holds high priority in my business plan – which means each baby added is my responsibility for their lifetime.

We’ve been actively working to have our Nigerian Dwarf goats bred since last fall. We stopped milking back in September thinking they’s meet up with their buck in just a few days. The gentleman we purchased our girls from last year lives just down the road in Tonganoxie – he was great to work with and when we asked about using one of his bucks as a stud he was willing. The trouble was getting schedules to work out – his job had him out of town during the week, then inclement weather and/or the girls not being in heat caused delays.

Last weekend we were able to meet up and bring one of his Angora bucks to our farm to breed our girls – I decided to call him Solomon (tee hee). An Angora is a great fit for many reasons. They are a comparable size to Dwarf Nigerian and are kept for their fiber. The kids will therefore be milk/fiber goats – a great fit for our farm since our primary goals with animals are feeding ourselves and sustainable income (not meat). We’ll keep the female goats and he’ll take the boys by way of payment – another win-win as we won’t need to find homes for any boys that are born. Goats typically have twins but can also have triplets – I alternate between thrilled and terrified at the possibility of 6 adorable goat babies this fall!

So far Padme simply adores him – she’s been bred multiple times and was a great mama. Leia is a bit skittish – last year was her first as a mama and she’s not too sure about things. Yoda is having a great time with Solomon – he has someone to pal around with and even gets to sleep in the barn instead of his outdoor shelter!

As for the “not to stud”…

Darryl is a stray cat that started coming around last summer. He is fat, lazy, and has the sweetest meow ever. He disappeared for quite a while this fall but has spent most of the winter with us. He spends the majority of his time lounging on the front porch, asking for food, or sunbathing just off the steps. A week and a half ago I found him just after he’d had a tussle with something – most likely the other male cat that hangs out on our farm (Carl). Darryl was missing about 3″ of fur behind his right ear and had a deep puncture wound. He let me wash off the blood and smear the wound with bacitracin (think Neosporin for animals).

We’d talked about taking him to the KCK Spay Neuter facility for his sterilization surgery if he hung around, and this tussle just confirmed it was time. He’s clearly claimed us as home – he came straight to me after injury! – and good cat management means Darryl doesn’t need to be father. The surgery should also mean less fights. I found it pretty hilarious that his surgery date fell on Valentine’s Day! He’s a super sweet cat and this is definitely the right decision for him. If Carl continues to hang around this will likely be in his future also.

So if spring fever has you thinking about adding an animal baby to your household, just stop and consider that choice for a bit. Consider the average lifespan of the animal, its care needs, and whether your budget can handle the expense. After all – my roommate will lose her mind if I beg her to keep anymore strays or castoffs!

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