Embryo Transfer –
Babies are Born

At 6:34, 9 August 2005, our wait was over. Matilda, the first doe born on our farm, had the first two kids from the Embryo transfer we did in the spring. They are the offspring of Hercules and our Kattie. The little boy has a dark head and a blaze down the middle of his face. He weighed in at 8 pounds and was followed shortly by his little sister. She also weighed in at 8 pounds. She has almost no white on her head. As cute as a baby goat could be. Both are doing great, nursing, and just being babies. We named them Kattie's Fortune and Kattie's Glory.

With of the good feelings in the world - we had embryo babies - we called Jeff and told him one of our does had kidded. Jeff informed us that two Boer-looking does had been spotted by the landowner a couple of weeks ago in the area where we lost Koko and Dot. We decided to take a trip down to where we lost the two other receips. We called Mr. Billy Stewart, the landowner, about our proposed trip. Mr. Stewart said he could take us to the goats. We were informed the does had full bags. We figured if we were ever to have a chance to catch them, it would be with babies at their sides; and since Matilda had just kidded, we might have a chance. The landowner told us he had sold his cattle from the land, and that we could look anywhere we wanted for them.

We packed up early on Friday morning – Friday the 13th – and drove to Livingston, AL. Upon arriving we stopped by the landowner's business and talked to him. Well, if he had given us the same info over the phone that he did when we talked to him directly, we would not have made the trip. We were under the impression from the earlier conversation that he knew exactly where the goats were – that he could walk right up to them (odd since we had never been able to walk right up to those two goats). We were informed by the Mr. Stewart that the goats were somewhere either on his 120 acres or 80 acres the City of Livingston owned behind his gas station. 2 goats for 2 people to find on 200 acres - no problem! We started our search.

Since they had been spotted last behind the gas station, I started searching that area - perfect goat terrain….underbrush and more brush. I could tell that something had been making paths through the underbrush, but did not spot any tracks or, the dead give away, nanny berries. Pat searched the area about a quarter mile futher back but still next to the interstate. Her area was part of the area where the landowner previously had cattle, and hay had recently been cut. We searched for about 2 hours - much more exercise than either of us had in a long time.

We took a break and went over to Jeff’s to see his embryo babies. They are so cute. He has a baby buckling that is something else. Lots and lots of babies… (We found our four girls that had been used for Jeff’s embryo; we plan to return to Livingston to pick them up as soon as Faith and Louise are bred.) We could only spend so much time looking at Jeff’s operation before we had to come back to reality.

We went to a late lunch before beginning our search again. We had not crossed the creek before, so this time we started on the other side of the creek. The banks down to the creek were at least 10 feet straight up and down. We found a crossing, still difficult but finally made it. We walked for over 2 hours; no goats.

We had called Charles (Blackie) and Nell Chaves telling them where we were and they arrived to help. Blackie and Nell have goats of their own and also help Jeff out with his when Jeff is showing and/or just needs help. I took a bucket of corn and began shaking it again, in the same area I spent most of my time searching. Blackie and Nell searched even further past where Pat had searched. When I returned from my search, Nell said that Blackie had crossed the creek and was looking up in that area. That area was where timber had be clear cut about a month or so before. Brush piled high all over the place, but yet clearings and a road system used to haul out the timber. After almost an hour, Blackie returned. He had found tracks of two goats (no babies) since the rain on Thursday and fresh nanny berries. He had been able to follow the tracks down to where they had been getting water from the creek, but he saw no goats. We, thinking they would not be too far from the creek walked both sides, another hour of searching, but found nothing.

About dark we called it a night and found a motel. Both dead tired, we decided on an early start to our search; and if we found them, great - if not, it was our loss.

We were back searching by 7:30 a.m. We crossed the creek and spent our time on that side. We walked and looked, finding nanny berries and tracks all over the place. Almost every where we looked we saw signs, but we never saw a goat.

About 10 a.m. we gave up. We called Blackie and Nell and told them that we have decided to head north without our two lost goats. They said if they heard of any spottings they would check them out, but didn’t seem to have much hope.

While searching we saw lots of predator tracks also; and with the cows gone, we do not give the goats much of a chance. But then, we didn’t give them much of a chance to be still alive after they escape from us back in April. They have been on the land for over four months and know where water and browse is, so, we will keep our fingers crossed. We thanked Blackie and Nell for their assistance (and wished we had some folk near us that could help us, at times, like Blackie and Nell help Jeff).

We arrived home around 4 p.m. and headed down the hill to check on the animals. There we discovered our second receip doe, Xenia, had just kidded - a little boy, Kattie's Hero, and a little girl, Kattie's Ice Cream. Both weighed in at a little over 8 pounds. We now had our embryo kids. Of the does we saved, the ET was 100% successful. And we have no doubt Dot and Koko have since had kids….somewhere near Livingston, AL.

We consider our Embryo Transfer Program to be a complete success, and we are looking forward to a fall flush. The errors we made along the way were learning experiences - sometimes expensive ones - but mistakes we won't make again. A very special "thank you" to John and Jackie Edwards, Jeff and Melissa Latham, Charles and Linda Merrill, and Charles and Nell Chaves for all their help and encouragement in our ET adventure.

 

Kattie is still holding out. Following her flush, Kattie was breed to Hilltop Jerry. She did not kid.

 

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168


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