A move from the middle of Kansas to Nowata County, Oklahoma didn’t prove to be as much of a change as was anticipated when Josh and Johanna Weir made it over a year ago.
“We didn’t expect the winter to be like it has been this year,” Josh said. “It was a lot like Kansas.”
Weir is a rural postal carrier out of Nowata who also raises Boer goats, primarily ABGA registered ones. His main market is show goats and the current trend is spotted, dappled or other colored patterns rather than the red head typical of the Boer breed. Some are even black spotted.
“We’ve been in the business since 2005,” Weir said. “Johanna was a city girl and when we got married we moved onto a place with a lot of weeds. We decided we needed to get a couple of goats. The number has never decreased since then. We have about 100 does now. There are about 30 head coming up to be bred. We had an excellent market in Kansas and it has stayed about as good here. We sell almost all of them right here, but every year we have a clean up and take them to Coffeyville sale.”
They have also taken them back to Kansas at the request of former customers there who appreciate the quality.
The does are kept for replacements and to increase the herd. The wethers are sold as show goats primarily, but there are a few people who buy one to butcher.
“We haven’t started letting people buy a goat and butcher it here,” he said. “We don’t have a large place here and that would just be providing food for a coyote banquet.”
The typical Boer goat is white with red shoulders and head. These new exotic colored animals are the result of taking throwbacks and breeding for color as well as conformation and meat quality.
In addition to the goats they have about 10 hair sheep in the pasture, all guarded by a pair of Great Pyrenees dogs who take their work very seriously.
When they first moved they encountered a problem with 15 bred does. Not only did they have extra large kids, but they didn’t have any milk. Now they have three milk goats they breed to kid earlier than the majority of the herd. The milk is frozen so it is available when needed
“You don’t want 26 bottle babies all at once," Johanna said.
They soon found out the problem was caused by the fact the pasture was fescue. An intense feeding of alfalfa pellets brought the does to their milk. That cured the immediate problem, but not the long-range one. Weir is currently trying to kill the fescue and over-seed with other grasses that won’t present that kind of problem. He is also in the process of putting more and more of the place into fencing that will hold goats.
The does are bred to kid in December and January or September. This makes them the right size for the fairs and other shows. They need to be the right weight for the fair market in Kansas.
“Around here the times for the fairs vary more than they did up there,” he said “We’re considering breaking the does up into groups of 25 and spacing out the breeding.”
A lot their marketing is done through their Website, www.doublejfarms.net.
“We’ve got a lot of good response through the Website,” Johanna said. “People from Texas, Missouri, Kansas as well as here.”
One of the things that enters into the decisions around culling time is what kind of a mother a doe is.
“We don’t keep them if they’re not a good mama,” Johanna said.
In addition to raising animals for others to show, the Weirs go to one or two shows a year.
Moving to a place that has never been used to run goats or sheep presents an immediate problem—fencing. A good woven wire is used around each pasture with a hot wire close to the ground.
“You get them broke to a hot wire that works pretty good,” he said. “When we were in Kansas we had a real small place, but that was all we needed as somebody was always coming by and saying I’ll build the fence if we can use your goats to get rid of brush. Goats really like weedy plants.”
The farm is located on CR 27, also known as the Smoke Rise Road about two miles west of U.S. 169.
“We get a lot of people stopping just because they see the goats,” Weir said. “Where we were in Kansas you had to go down several roads to get to us. This is much better.”
The winter may not have been as mild as they were expecting, but the development of a first class operation is well on it’s way. As the spring grass grows and the new kids hit the ground the sight of the babies running and playing will probably cause even more people to stop and ask, “What kind of goats are those? I haven’t seen any black and white spotted ones before.”