I did a lot of research before deciding to invest in a breeding pair of Toggenburg dairy goats in 2012.

Toggenburgs are originally from the Swiss Alps (as are Alpines, Saanens, and Oberhaslis). I chose them because they are cold-hardy but also provide a good amount of milk per year (on average), and because they are one of the oldest registered breeds. I like a well-established breed when it comes to animal husbandry, as you will learn as you follow this blog. They also have calm, independent dispositions. Being an independent person myself, I liked that aspect.

My first kidding season, 2013, I lost my dairy goat. She has two surviving doelings that we have decided to keep and breed. There are a few possiblities for why Tallia didn't make it. "Milk fever" could be one option. She had trouble passing the afterbirth, taking almost 25 hours, but once she did I thought she would be able to rest and take it easy. She didn't make it that far. There could have been a tear in the uterus while giving birth to the doelings, but I will never know for sure. I will never allow a labor to go that long without contacting a vet in the future though. Tallia was my companion as well as my milk provider. We were pregnant together and she became very lovey-dovey with me.

I decided to keep both kids because I lost Tallia. She was a great goat with a wonderful personality and I hope that she passed that along to at least one of her girls. Because I am keeping them both, I will not be able to breed them to our yearling buck, Claudius. People do breed father/daughter and mother/son combinations, but I am not willing to take that risk if I could lost them during kidding only to have to destroy the heavily inbred babies as well. (I see destroying the kids as a waste too - though many do not and will happily eat them dressed as rabbits when they are born).

This predicament has led us to invest in another milker for the year, an 8 year old Alpine from the same farm (in Colorado) I got my Toggenburgs from (they didn't have any bred Toggs in 2013). While I was there, I also got a 3 week old buckling Alpine who has very pretty coloring and feisty personality. He will be my new breeder buck, though I do hope to find another Togg in the future.

I did majority of my research beginning with a book: Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger and Sara Thomson Bredesen. From there I have found several homesteading blogs and websites that are very useful. I will be posting links to the pages I frequently use for reference in due time.

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