Each year we honor one of our first-time milkers (AKA First Fresheners) with the coveted Black Mesa Ranch Best First Freshener award (BFF). We look at milk production, conformation, attitude, and much more. Here is a list of the winners and what they have accomplished since then.
We have kept 8 doelings in 2016 as replacements since so many of our lovely milkers are getting a bit old and may decide to retire. The youngsters are well behaved and doing great - but they certainly can make the ground rumble when they roll by.
A month after we bred Brittany this winter we did an ultrasound on her to be sure that she had caught. We couldn't find any kids inside. We sent in a blood test which confirmed that Brittany was not pregnant. We were sad about that. But as the months went by we noticed that Brittany was getting wider and wider. We did another ultrasound and SURPRISE! we saw twins. It seems that our clean up buck was very sneaky about doing his job.
So in mid June Brittany kidded with twins and went to work. Her udder is fabulous with a long, tight fore udder and wonderfully wide escutcheon. She is milking great and looking magnificent. Brittany is not only our BFF for 2016, but our 2016 BMR Best Surprise. She is the first girl to ever win both of those coveted awards. Congratulations to Brittany!
2015 - Year of The Overwhelming Swarm
From the moment Madeleine was born, we knew that she would be a wonderful addition to our herd. She was elegant right from the start. After she freshened this year with two large twins she got serious about milk production and is already a big asset. Madeleine still has a lot of maturing to do. And even though she is already taller than many of her herdmates she is still growing in leaps and bounds. We are thrilled to present Madeleine with the 2015 BFF medallian.
Our 2015 Best Surprise award goes to Rosetta. Rosetta was a wall flower as a kid, very easy to over look, though a bit head strong when it suited her. It took her much longer than normal to learn how to come into the milking parlor and jump up onto her milk stand. Even now she will occasionally have a brain stutter and need assistance. But she loves coming in and does a great job once she is in position. Her udder is lovely and productive and we look forward to many more years of laughing at her occasional confusion.
Reese had a lot of competition for BFF since we kept 12 kids last year. The youngsters mostly freshened well and worked hard. Obsidian and Carmella gave Reese a real challenge. But Reese was our highest scoring yearling on linear appraisal and one of the top milkers. She has been awared her Superior Genetics title by the American Dairy Goat Association. She loves coming in to be milked and has an excellent udder.
Carmella was given the award of BMR Best Surprise since she went from being such an ugly kid to being a top milker with great LA score and wonderful attitude. She even earned her Superior Genetics title this year! We are delighted with Carmella, Reese, and Obsidian, plus many more of the Girls Of The Force.
2013 - Year of the Miscreants
To begin with Hannah didn't seem to be in the running for BMR BFF. She was a chubby kid that looked like she had swallowed two basketballs! But she easily kidded with twins and went to work milking from an incredible udder. Her fore udder is amazingly long and tight. She milked off her baby fat in no time and is a very productive yearling.
Hannah is now working in the Sandplum Creek herd.
2012 - Year of the Rapscallions
Tally is Brill's daughter. Brill almost won the BFF award last year but was edged out by Spring Thyme. Now Tally has brought home the trophy. She has a great teat set, fun attitude, and milks as much as we expect the senior does to give. She is going to be a real asset to our dairy.
Tally is sired by Goldthwaite Exotic Affair. She is one of his first daughters to freshen in our herd and we are delighted that his offspring are so productive, good tempered, and beautiful.
As a two year old, Tally was named an ADGA Top Ten Breed Leader for being the 9th highest milk producting Nubian in the country with the 6th highest butterfat. Way to go, Tally!
Tally has gone to the Sandplum Creek herd to work as a brood doe.
2011 - Year of the Hooligans
It was a really tough year with four great contenders, Joy, Brill, China Doll, and Spring Thyme. All the girls did such a great job in the milking parlor that we had a hard time deciding. Finally after much thought, research, and observing, Spring Thyme was awarded the BMR Best First Freshener medallion. Earlier in the year Spring also won the BMR Best Surprise Award for 2011 for surpassing our expectations of her so dramatically. Spring has become the first doe to wear two medallions on her collar - and she does so proudly. Her mom, Cinnamon was our 2006 BFF. Milking is what this girl is destined to do.
August 2014: Sadly Spring Thyme was one of our does that got addicted to eating poisonous Silverleaf Nightshade. We worked hard to save her but the damage was too much to overcome. She is buried here at Black Mesa Ranch.
2010 - Year of the Young Guns
Sometimes the decisions are hard. This year we had so many great yearlings vying for this title that we needed some help from an expert. Luckily, Sandy Riehle of Reuel Dairy Goats agreed to help us with this task. Even Sandy, an experienced breeder and dairy goat judge had a hard time deciding between some of the contenders. After reviewing milk records, linear appraisal scores, attitudes, and style, the decision was made. Dom, Mariah, and Grace all gave Violet some strong competition, but Violet won the award for her great milk production, confirmation, and willingness to milk. It didn't hurt that she kissed up a bit to the judge! Violet has gone to the Owl Haven herd in California to be a herd foundation doe there.
Deciding on the BFF for 2009 was a no-brainer. Lillith took an early lead and never looked back. Lillith is a stunning girl with great attitude, wonderful, easy milking udder, and lots of pizzazz. Lillith has great strength blended nicely with lovely dairy character. Lillith has been awarded her Superior Genetics title by the American Dairy Goat Association. Lillith has gone to the Sand Plum Creek herd in Oklahoma to be a brood doe.
Ripley has grown into a real beauty. At two years old she scored 91 EEEE on linear appraisal, which is an amazingly high score. (90 and above are considered Excellent, which is also what the "E"s stand for). She also earned her Superior Genetics title. Ripley is a show goat, always posing and looking great. She is a really well rounded, beautiful girl. Ripley worked hard for us here, but she was "stolen away" from us by a very persistent rancher that loves her and wants to start a dairy goat herd. Ripley will be a foundation doe for this new herd.
Award not given
Sometimes deciding which doe will receive this coveted award is easy and sometimes it is hard. 2007 was a hard year because none of the first fresheners lived up to our expectations. We reluctantly decided not to give out the award that year. Funny thing is that both of the girls under consideration, Mallow (pictured at the right) and Espeez (pictured to the left) are amazingly productive does, earning high LA scores and milking awards. In fact, both of these does have now earned their ADGA Superior Genetics titles and Espeez has been named an Elite Doe by the USDA four times in a row.
Cinnamon is a Superior Genetics doe with lovely, easy milking teats and soft pliable udder. She was a real favorite for teaching people how to milk. In 2010 Cinnamon had a tough pregnancy and damaged her sciatic nerves making it hard for her to move around. She was retired from her milking duties and sadly passed away a year later.
Sassy will always be a favorite. She has a lovely udder and great dairy attitude. She always loved to be the "Demo Goat" for our open houses and tours. Sassy was such a hit with one group of school kids that we could hear the children yelling, "Bye, Sassy" all the way down the half mile driveway and we could see them hanging out of the bus windows waving their farewell to her. Since then when Sassy was done in the milking parlor we would give her a rousing chorus of "Bye, Sassy" as she ate a few animal crackers on her way out. Sassy has now gone to Sandplum Creek farm in OK to be a brood doe for the Nubian herd there.
Cory was the first goat to ever be awarded the BMR BFF award. A few years later, in 2008, Cory kidded with quintuplets and went on to become an ADGA Top Ten Breed Leader by being the 6th highest milk producing Nubian in the country, as well as the 6th highest producer of milk protein and the 7th highest producer of butterfat. Cory was a much valued member of our herd. Sadly we lost her in 2010 due to kidding complications.
Cory has earned the International Nubian Breeders Association Outstanding Dam Award and Premier Dam Award.