As you can read on our Lamancha page, we got a very nice buck from a way nicer lady in our last neighborhood (thanks Nita). So now that we had a boy, apparently we needed a girl goat (doe) to let the birds and bees to do their thing. She recommended that we go to the state fair to find a good match for our little Puck. She promised that she’d be there to help figure out what the heck we were doing, because we didn’t have a clue. We set the morning of September 8th to be our meeting time. Come September 8th, we’re walking through the goat barn at the state fair and more than just a little overwhelmed with all the goats there. We were very glad to see Nita, we really needed her guidance.
Unfortunately for us and Nita, I guess there were some issues with helping someone judge the goats so she was asked to help. This meant that she was pretty much at the beckon call of the goat judge until the judge had a bathroom break. The judge must be part camel, because we didn’t see her take a break the whole time we were there. We were on our own to look at the goats. She did have the time to point out the three goat breeders that she’d go through if she were in the market for another goat.
We talked to the three recommended breeders and each had one goat that fit our criteria:
- Had to be currently milking
- Not the first year milking (we wanted an experienced milker while we were figuring out what we were doing)
- Price range of $300 to $500
We tried to talk to Nita again hoping that she could just look at the three and tell us the one to pick, but alas, it was not meant to be. She was just too busy being a gopher. She suggested that we wait for the goats that we picked out to be judged by the goat judge. If the goat judge likes one of the ones we pick then we could feel pretty comfortable with our choice. Well, that sounded like a good idea to us.
What we didn’t realize was that each goat was in a different group and we had to see five rounds of judging to see that all were judged. Watching a lady judge a bunch of Lamancha goats was a pretty novel experience. The judging arena was right in the middle of the goat barn. All the ol’timers and regular goat breeders had brought their own camp chairs, coolers, etc. and were camped out on one side of the judging arena. Those of us that did not realize how long these judging events last were relegated to the hard metal bleachers. The judge would have goats be brought into the arena led around by some 4H student. They’d make a couple rounds walking around the arena in a line and the judge would order the goats in order of their “advantage”. This is the part that I really felt quite uncomfortable and almost embarrassed for those poor goats. The judge started talking about the animal’s teat size, teat placement, mammary capacity and all sorts of other physical criteria. Made me think of the Miss USA contests, don’t know if I can ever look at those pageants the same ever again (mammary capacity and all).
The first goat we liked did the best in it’s group and got second over all. It was a beautiful animal but it was just black, not very exciting for my little wife. The next one we liked got second in her grouping and did not place super high overall. The third got dead last. We quickly eliminated the third one. I told Amber that maybe we should choose the black. Aliyah loved that one. She was super excited that we were considering her. Amber said that she liked that one but she absolutely loved the coloring of the second goat, white with orange spots. I knew that all hope was lost for me to give her the stats about the other black goat. Once my sweet wife likes a color (whether it’s a house, shirt or a goat), there’s no use in talking her out of it. So we picked Leila from Rusty Gates Ranch because she had cute spots. Poor Aliyah shed a few tears and was a little upset about not picking the goat she liked. A lot of the tears were due to her being tired and hungry We were told to come back and get her on September 13th at 9pm. I guess the fair has rules against all of their animals disappearing before the fair is over.
Stay tuned for the adventure of picking Leila up from the fair. 🙂