The Sassy Nanny herd was started in 2003. As the idea of starting a farmstead cheese business formed and grew, so has the herd developed and grown. An extremely healthy and productive goat herd has been established and currently consists of 25 milking does. In 2015 the goats made the transition to a new farm on the old Finn settlement in Washburn, WI, and are under the care of the Rusch family. A barn to house the entire herd was available along with plenty of acreage for pasture and haymaking. A new milking parlor and milk room have been constructed in accordance with WI state codes and Jordan and Teresa Rusch are the primary goatherds. The goats have access to pasture May through October.
The herd consists of American Alpines and French Alpines from excellent breeding programs. Unnecessary medications are not used in routine goat care. We are committed to a breeding program that selects for well proportioned, hardy, productive does that will make excellent farmstead milk producers. We encourage people to visit the farm when they inquire about purchasing a kid. We think observing the goat within the herd element is really the way to gauge a goat's character and constitution. It is also nice to be able to make physical comparisons when choosing a milk goat. We are very happy with the herd to date and look forward to every kidding season to note improvements made by the selective breeding program.
2013 Kidding season was COLD !!
The goats started their heat cycles this year in August instead of September and I was caught a bit off guard.. and the buck was not !! He went about his business as did the ladies and so kids started arriving in late January. The big bunch of them all started arriving mid-February. Some VERY cold nights.. -15F .. but getting them dry (hairdryer) and something in their belly right away from Mom seemed to keep them going. I also used a Boer (meat) buck with some of the gals this year and the kids are VERY interesting looking. AND big !! Only time will tell how they do compared to the surplus dairy kids that we raise for meat, but I'm hopeful that it will improve meat yield. I'm also planning on keeping a few of the doelings to see what their milk production is like. Boers reportedly have a higher milk fat yield. More fat equals more cheese !!
2012 kidding season was a BIGGER BLUR than 2011 !!
30 does kidded in a eight day spread, and many decided to go with the flow and the constancy of birth really didn't seem to ever stop. There were always kids being born or needing attention. It was a doe year; out of 63 kids born, 41 were does ! Luckily, for the most part, all went well. The weather was mild except for our largest snow storm of the season, but the temperatures were quite pleasant. AND, I had a full moon to keep me company during the busiest birthing stretch. There is something to be said for knowing you can do something AND the great relief when it's over !!!
2011 kidding season was a BLUR !!
Nincteen does kidded in a 2 week period. It's all a distant, foggy memory. Fortunately, some dear friends, Liz Johnson, and Tara Huie, each took a " goat birthin " stint, and most importantly, kept me fortified with good food and liquor and provided the kind of company and support one can only get from the best of friends. Farmer friends down the road took all the bucklings again to raise for the fall meat market, and against better judgement, I kept all 14 of the doelings born this Spring. So... I guess I'm milking more goats in 2012 !!
Every kidding season brings joy as well as sorrow. With 16 does kidding this year, there's plenty of action and lots of laughs. There's also some sadness as not all kids make it, and not all dams survive the birthing process. It's a fact of nature and law of statistics. That doesn't make it any easier at the end of the day. But a new day begins, new kids are born, and a nap is the sun with the kids makes it all right again. Mostly bucks this year, which is slightly disappointing, as they don't give milk, but I am thankful that they are all healthy. I will keep all the doelings again this year and the bucklings are moving on to a friend's farm where they will spend the spring and summer grazing and will go to market in the fall. I am very happy to not have to sell the bucks at auction myself and am grateful that I know they will enjoy a good life and thoughtful care before market in the fall. As the kidding season end is within sight after three weeks, I'm looking forward to uninterrupted sleep and getting back to making cheese and the plethora of other tasks at hand.
Yes, there is snow on the ground when the kids arrive !! That's the Queen Bee, Delilah, with her twin boys. This year marks her 3 kidding season. She is proving to be not only the most loved, but the literal " bones" of the operation. It's very likely that all my future milkers will be related to her somehow.. she's THAT good.