Dragonfly Farm News

updated 1/26/10

Our herd is free of CAE, Johnes, CL, TB, and brucellosis.

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Winter, 2008

Milk test has gone great so far. 11 of our does have completed the requirements for their AR titles in AGS, some with really nice results. Calliope and Party earned their stars with great ease and are now ARMCH; Clio, Shaise Lounge, Evita, Skylark, Willow, Chiara, Kaya, and Pacificaare all now AR does. The star of this endeavor is Stella, grumpy as she is about the whole thing, who is currently at 1173 pounds in 282 days in milk, and still milking almost 3 pounds per day--when all is said and done, I project she will produce right around 1260 pounds, which we hope will earn her a spot in the Top Ten for 2008. Not bad for our first year on test.

Fall, 2007

We had a terrific show season again this year, with a number of nice wins. We were able to achieve junior legs for Ceili, Callisto, Gyrfalcon, Merlin, and Cassandra, along with multiple Best of Breeds for Merlin and my very favorite Best Junior Doe in Show for Callisto. We also picked up quite a nice collection of RGChs and GCh milking legs, including 1 x RGCH for Skylark, 3 x RGCh and 1 x GCh (for 2 legs) for Clio, 1 x RGCh and 4 x GCh for Party, 1 x RGCh for Kaya, and 1 RGCh and 1 GCh for Ariadne. Party is now a finished champion and Ariadne and Clio each have only one leg to go. We had several opportunities to get goats classified this summer as well, with Ariadne, Chiaroscuro, Shaise, and Pacifica classifying E, and Kestrel and Kaya earning high VG scores.

This was also the first year we were able to participate in linear appraisal, under appraiser Elizabeth Henning, though only 6 of my AGDA registered girls were in milk and able to be scored. Calliope earned an 89 (she was a 90 for about 2 minutes before the appraiser changed her mind...) and Clio, Party, Skylark, and Penumbra earned 88, while Evita ended up with an 83.  Overall I would say that linear appraisal was an extremely worthwhile experience, not just because of what I learned about my own goats but also because of what I gained by watching several other herds being appraised, as well as being able to refer to scores of other herds in New England, goats I am familiar with, scored by the same person. I was able to confirm my impressions of what we are already doing pretty well (feet and legs, necks and toplines, height of rear udder, overall area of attachment, for example) and what I think we need to work on more (tightness of shoulders and elbows, teat placement). Betty (who has a reputation for being tough) was very positive about the state of our breeding program, and that feedback was well worth the cost and effort.

Winter, 2007

I am very excited to report that we have chosen to put our herd on 305-day milk test. (Just wait until I have to milk 20 goats--then I will eat my words.) We are on circle test with Bonnie Chandler of Fairlea Farm and Jim McGonagle of Has It All Farm, and I thank them both for making this possible and for providing much needed momentum to me! Our new-last-year milking machine will be a big help, I am sure.

All of our bucks except the new guy, Appomattox, have now been collected and are in the semen tank. It's nice to have a little bit of insurance against disaster, and also nice to know that everyone is in good reproductive shape, especially after the strange breeding season we have had.

Fall, 2006

We had a really great time this show season--lots of purple ribbons. We earned junior legs for Flight, Thalia (in AGS and ADGA), Atalanta, Gina Maria, Siri, Deirdre (along with 4 x RGCH Jr on the way)and Damask. Ariadne and Skylark earned their first GCH legs, and Calliope and Giacomo finished their MCHs. MCH Dragonfly Calliope *D E is our first MCH and the first in our herdname as well. Giacomo made me hold my breath to see if he would creep over the height standard before he was able to finish his MCH--I am sure he is relieved that I will no longer be scrutinizing his feet with my trimmers quite so carefully! Here for the Party collected 2 RGCH awards and Pacifica received one as a first freshener; each of them won Best Udder once as well. What all this adds up to, for me, is a sense that I am starting to be able to correctly assess the quality of the stock I am working with, and that some of my ideas for combining lines are paying off.

We are having a very interesting time getting does bred this year--others report similar difficulties with does double cycling or cycling back repeatedly. Maybe it's the strange weather--so our kidding schedule is a little flexible, as in it keeps flexing. . .

Spring, 2006

We decided to add Johnes testing by ELISA at Washington State to our whole herd blood test protocol, for our own peace of mind, and because several of our kid buyers have asked us to. All of our tests came back negative as of March 31st, 2006. Johnes is elusive and insidious, and the ELISA test is presently only 65% sensitive when used in goats with no symptoms of the disease. For this reason, negative tests are no guarantee that you do not have Johnes in any particular goat, but multiple whole-herd negative tests over several years make the odds vanishingly small that you have it, so we will continue to test each year for both CAE and Johnes by the best tests available.

We are planning our first ever show (I've helped but never been in charge) June 3rd at the Bolton Fairgrounds, with Judge John Pfeiler. I'm looking forward to the start of show season! Nope, not jaded yet.

We had a great experience at the AGS National Show and Convention in Duncon, OK--took AGS Judges Training for the first time. I learned a tremendous amount, and although naturally I did not fulfill the requirements to earn my license this first time out, I did not fall as short as I expected I might--and I did get the highest score on the written exam!

Fall, 2005

We had a fun show season, with multiple first places for Skylark, Thalia, and Chai, plus a RGCH for Chai. Phoebe won her junior leg, and Calliope won her second GCH, with only one to go for her MCH. Giacomo and Maestro were the co-Reserve GCH kings this year, with 3 for Maestro, and 3 for Giacomo, but Giacomo won his first GCH as well. Now if that boy will only stop growing, maybe he will be our first MCH. All of the above were entered in the ANDDA All-American competition except Maestro--we never took a photo of him in 2005. Looking forward to the results. (Well, apparently our entry was Lost in the Mail--so much for that.)

Summer, 2005

We started off the year with a one-day test at Carol and Duane's; both Zoe and Rianna earned their stars (Rianna ended up squeeking into the Top Ten for milk). The show schedule in New England was very exciting this year, starting with a warm up show at Old Mountain Farm, and followed almost immediately by the AGS National Show and convention, held at the Big E in Springfield, MA. We really enjoyed the ANDDA Nigerian Specialty, held immediately before the Nationals and judged by Jeff Klein. The highlight of our week was winning the Get of Sire class with three does sired by Apocalypse Now--Calliope, Clio, and Bonnie's Ariel. Skylark also won her class and BU in class in her first show as a milker. We also had a number of other 3rds and 4ths: Phoebe, Flight, Chai, Clio, and Shaise Lounge.

Winter, 2005

I love this time of year, when all the does are standing around like big fat presents waiting to be opened! It with a bit of chagrin that I confess that a number of our breedings this year were not planned by me--between 8 and 10 year olds helping me feed the bucks, and a bit of gate fastening faux pas, we have quite a few Maestro kids expected or already here. As we have been delighted with his kids so far, this is no hardship whatsoever.

Summer, 2004

I'd like to thank all of our kid buyers this year; I hope that they enjoy their new family members! Our herd has 15 new members this year, 12 from other herds. Our own Dragonfly Calliope earned our first ever milking leg, at the Bolton Fair show under judge Tom Rucker. We also won junior legs with two of our new acquisitions, Twin Creeks AH Chiaroscuro, and Flat Rocks Penumbra, and a RGCHJr with the lovely Piddlin Acres PV Tsunami. Maestro added a couple of RGCH's to his list, and our youngest buck, Twin Creeks BW Giacomo Puccini, also won 2 x RGCH at 9 months of age.

We had kids from Kestrel and Polly late in the year, and have retained Polly's daughter, who turns out to be by Funny Cide. I was betting on Giacomo because of her outgoing personality and color; it just goes to show that you never know! Kestrel's twin bucks were outstanding in general appearance, and we have repeated that breeding hoping for does.

May, 2004

The initial phase of kidding is over and we have some difficult choices to make, because we have so many nice doelings to consider keeping! We will have four more does kidding in late summer. Our latest Texas traveller, Flat Rocks Penumbra, has arrived. She was called Penny at Flat Rock, but here we call her Diva, because of her prodigious vocal capabilities ("Bottle NOOOOOW!"). She is probably the most elegant looking 8 week old kid I have ever seen, and we are very pleased with her. Piddlin Acres PV Tsunami is another recent arrival. She is wild and beautiful, just like her name, but she does consent to eat her grain from the hand, and that's a good start. This year, for the first time, I have had to decide who to bring to our first show and who to leave home--before, everyone came and that was that!

March, 2004

Our two Twin Creeks doelings and buck are here and they are lovely. Updated pictures soon! They have some more friends on the way--see the Junior Does page. I am very happy to note that the results of our last whole-herd CAE test are back and once again everyone is negative. Also, the first kids of the season have arrived in bulk--quads and sextuplets (yikes!)

January, 2004

Well, Christmas came, and we were in luck! Two gorgeous doelings and a baby buck are bound for New England round about early March--pictures and pedigrees are on the Junior Does and Bucks pages.

November, 2003

We are thrilled to welcome our new herd sire, Flat Rocks Funny Cide. Thank you so much, Sunni! He is gorgeous, and will be breeding many of the does here and at Fairlea Farm this breeding season. We are really looking forward to finding out how his Flat Rock/Willow Creek bloodlines cross with our mostly Goodwood lines. We also have some really exciting reservations on some outside kids and can't wait for Christmas to open our packages!

October, 2003

The show season wound up with a bang for us with our first ever GCH, a junior leg won by Dragonfly M Kestrel under judge David Funk at the 6th Mt. Agamenticus Nigerian Miniature Dairy Goat show, hosted by Cheryle and Wyl at their Old Mountain Farm, Cape Neddick, ME. Thanks so much for going the extra mile to host this show! We ended the show season with 2 RGCHJr and 1 GCHJr (Kestrel), 1 RGCH Buck (Maestro), and 1 RGCH (Ariadne, our first rosette for a Senior doe). Stonewall's Apocalypse Now ("Paco") won 3 x 1st and 3 x 2nd place Get of Sire, and Calliope has 2 x !st place Dam and Daughter to her credit (with Kestrel). Paco also now has the honor of having sired a new permanent champion, MCH Old Mountain Farm Dubonnet, who finished her championship this summer as a two-year-old third freshener for Cheryle and Wyl at their show. I would like to say a big thank-you to all the NENDA members who gave of their time, energy, and farms to make this show season possible.

May 17, 2003

The first show of the year was the Bay State NENDA show, kindly hosted by Anne Petersen; thanks Anne and all who made it happen! We had a good day: Calliope won 1st in 2 year old milkers, Ariadne, Rianna, and Maestro each won second in their classes, and Apocalypse Now took first place in the Get of Sire group class, with his daughters Calli, Ari, and Clio. It was really fun to be in the ring for the Grand Champion competition so many times, even if we didn't win! Rianna's mother, Jumby Hill Farm Rose, owned by Bonnie Chandler, behaved beautifully on her first trip in the ring, and won her class as well. Now we can't wait until July.


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