This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: New Kids of 2012

Back in November, it was breeding time for the goats! We had decided in the past to basically in-breed only every other generation, and so we have two pure Nubian billy goats we use for that.

And so, without further ado, allow me to introduce you around the herd!

Our billy Shatner…

2012 Mating Billy Goat Shatner

…was mated with the following does, producing the following offspring:

Winnie (center), and her new buck Obie (we call him Obie from O.B., standing for “over bite,” because he has pretty pronounced one):

New 2012 Goat Buck Obie

If you are interested, here is a video of Obie’s birth, which Sue was able to capture. It’s a little graphic, for obvious reasons; but if you’ve never seen something like this, it is quite fascinating:

Betsy, and her new bucks Bo and Luke (think early ’80s TV show featuring a car named the “General Lee”):

New 2012 Goat Bucks Bo and Luke

Hannah, and her new does Rigby and Pippi (because their ears look like pig tails):

New 2012 Goat Does Pippy and Rigby

Pammy, with her new does PJ (for Pammy Jr., as she looks like her mother; and Sandy, like a white, sandy beach):

New 2012 Goat Does PJ and Sandy

Lucy, with her new buck Lester (from William Shatner’s daughter Leslie, since he looks a lot like his sire Shatner):

New 2012 Goat Buck Lester

And then, our billy Rocky…

2012 Mating Billy Goat Rocky

…was mated with the following does, producing the following offspring:

Marie, with her new buck and doe RJ (front) and Raquel (RJ for Rocky Jr., since he looks like his sire; and Raquel, since she does as well):

New 2012 Goat Buck and Doe RJ and Raquel

Nellie, with her new buck Melvin (from his coat looking velvety smooth, and Mel Torme being called the “Velvet Fog”):

New 2012 Goat Buck Melvin

Gracie, with her new buck Albert (Princess Grace’s son is Prince Albert):

New 2012 Goat Buck Albert


Gracie had another kid, whom she sadly rejected. And so, we sort of “adopted” (and I mean that loosely, not like adopting a pet today), and named him Junior:

New 2012 Goat Buck Junior

And here Junior and Albert are together. They do often hang out, so my guess is that they have a sense for each other:

New 2012 Goat Bucks Junior and Albert

And finally, Tapioca, with her new doe and buck Annie and Spot (Tapi is the goat to the far right in the second scene of the birthing video above). Tapi had a very rough delivery — she was a little older and this was her first kidding, although we’re not sure if that played into it. Whatever the reason, she had one teat squirting blood and water, and that whole side of her udder was purple (looking extremely bruised), and she wouldn’t really get up much at all and walk around and eventually stopped drinking water. It was very hot outside, and she had flies eating the skin of her udder, ears, snout, arms, etc. — I tried spraying eucalyptus essential oils on her udder, as I read that might help keep them away, and because we had some; but it didn’t work. We had a dilemma with that too — being as hot as it was, we made some shade over her, but it was too hot for the flies as well; so, her being in the sun was better to keep the flies away but had her in direct sunlight, and putting her under the shade brought the flies back in. Sadly, in the end, we decided it was best to euthanize her; and so, we had two more orphans on our hands — the doe we decided to call Annie (for Little Orphan Annie) and the buck Spot (because he looks like a dalmatian):

New 2012 Goat Doe and Buck Annie and Spot

Here is a video tour of the new herd:

And here is feeding time with the orphans:

As I mention in the tour video, the Lord showed His graces with the orphans in allowing other kids to be born on the same day, so we could “steal” some colostrum from the other mothers to get some into the orphans, as the colostrum has things in it, which apparently are adapted to the local area, to help the immune systems of newborns. We have had to use some milk replacer to feed the orphans, but now that the kids are over a month old, we’re able to use mostly milk from the other mothers.

Both orphan experiences, for different reasons, were somewhat difficult; but we thank the Lord for His help through them, and for the health of the orphans and all of the new kids.

We are very grateful to God for the increase in the herd, for the colostrum He granted for the orphans, for the increase in healthy goat milk; and we pray for help in proper management and for provisions for the herd.

— David


  1. Ernest

    Sorry to hear about Tapioca. It has always distressed me when I've had to put one of my animals down, but it is part of animal husbandry. You only have a couple of choices here: be a vegetarian and only raise plants, keep animals and deal with the hard choices of proper animal husbandry, or just put the whole thing out of your mind and buy the meat from the grocery store (despite how unethically and unhealthily it is produced).

    It sounds like she suffered some sort of internal trauma during the delivery. The strain of pushing may have ruptured blood vessels in her udder. That is extremely painful, I'm sure, but I doubt it is what put her down. An animal has to be extremely hurt to not get up and drink water. Probably more ruptures internally that were killing her. For what it's worth, I think you did the right thing.

    It's a sad state but most of the goats and sheep we as homesteaders can acquire today have been either pets or kept only for tax exemptions. There is an enormous amount of genetic problems out there that the subsistence homesteader is going to run into. Many of these problems manifest primarily at delivery time. Hard culling is required if we are to get back to thriving, sustainable herds like our ancestors had. That is particularly difficult if you're a big softie like myself.

    But with the young ones your herd increases and it would appear God shines on your endeavors.

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Ernest,

    Yes, we've learned death is all part of it, although it's still not easy for me either (

    Thanks for saying hi.

    — David

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