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Kitren and SkeenaThe Herd Mom, Kitren:

I’m a botanist (Masters and PhD) and horticulturalist (applied research in tree fruit and nut crops, UC Davis) in my professional role, and my hobbies include gourmet cooking and baking, cheesemaking, soaps and toiletries, knitting, sewing, gardening – but I haven’t had much time for these since goats came into my life.

  

  
Dr. Mike & his deaf pupThe Herd Vet and Go-To Guy:

My husband, Mike, is a veterinarian (DVM Colorado State University, PhD University of California Davis, PostDoc  University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna)and retired professor from the UC Davis Vet School, specializing in ruminant physiology (how convenient for me!). One of our first ‘dates’ was on Mike’s invitation to preview his ‘rumen’ lab, where I was required to probe a fistulated cow. Love is strange! I’ve now been up to my elbow, literally, in one of my does to discover that the sonogram lied about multiple kids.

Mike specialized in research on ruminant physiology, ruminant diseases, ruminant nutrition, liver function and diseases, clinical chemistry, glucose, amino acid and ketone metabolism (ketosis, endotoxemia and pharmacokinetics), and authored numerous papers and book chapters.

Mike is the vet, builder, handyman, and general ‘do-it-all’ guy in supporting my goat (and other farm) fun. It wouldn’t have happened, or continue, without his expertise and forbearance. Lucky for me he has a great sense of humor and lots of patience.

How the Herd Came to Be:

I started my goat habit thinking I was going to get a couple of ‘backyard’ variety does, let them raise their own babies, and then milk them for about 3 months a year to provide milk for my cheesemaking. I’d had a short time living with Nubians and Toggs when I was 17, grew to admire their spunk and intelligence, as well as that ‘goaty’ flavor of milk that some consider ‘off-flavor’, and I consider delicious. Then I met Oberhaslis at Liz Smith’s Mini Ridge Top Farm in the Sierras and decided they were the breed for me. I got those 'couple of does' from Liz’s friend, Shannon Friedberg of Sweet Nightingale Farms and wanted to get them bred. At that point I had no idea how lucky I was with those does’ pedigrees (Mini Top Ridge’s sire and Sweet Nightingale’s dams—check out their great genetics: Gala & Chicory)

Getting those girls bred…another learning experience! Liz recommended Julie Bonini of Heathero Oberhasli, a premier breeder in California. 'The girls' were ready for their 'dates', or so I thought! I found I had a hard time figuring out when they were in-season and when they weren’t, and was advised to get a ‘buck rag’. You don’t go to the local store for that, you know…

So my next stop was the Goat Barn at UC Davis, where I met Jan Carlson, got my buck rags, but also met my next 2 does. That’s right, my herd doubled in size on the spot, when I was introduced to UC Davis’ last 2 progeny of SGCH California Kalvin Special K 4*M (I was such a newbie I had no idea of who 'Kay' was.

And they were for sale…

Not knowing much about anything related to ADGA, Performance Programs, and all the rest, I still knew that I was faced with an amazing opportunity that totally changed my intended approach to this whole ‘goat thing’.  Was I going to pass this up or rise to the occasion? I didn’t know what I was getting in for when I decided I couldn’t say ‘No’ to Special K’s last 2 girls, and the last 2 Obies, that UCD had. One was California Remus (White-Haven) Kacey, born 2010, and the other was still nameless, one of Special K’s last triplets, born by C section in 2011 when K had to be euthanized with pregnancy toxemia (ketosis). Still milking 3500 lb with triplets was just too much for her, as Jan said. I owed it to her legacy to do more than ‘backyard’ milk. Besides, these girls, having been bottle babies in the student-laden, unique place that the UCD Goat Barn is, were so tame, so friendly, so SPECIAL, that I was driven.

The 2 does turned into 4, who turned into 7 babies, plus the Obie buckling from Sir Echo Farm, Tucson, who will soon join our little herd.

Welcome to CalOak Oberhasli, Experimentals and Recorded Grades!