Showing Goats

Episode 49
For the Love of Goats

Showing Goats featured image


When my daughters were teenagers, they loved showing goats. It was a great way for us to learn about goat conformation and to see how our goats compared to others. It also provided an opportunity for us to meet other goat owners.

In this episode, we are talking to Ellen Dorsey of Dill’s-A Little Goat Farm in Oklahoma, who has been raising goats for two decades and showing for almost as many years. She talks about why she started showing goats and provides tips for anyone who wants to get started showing goats or improve their herd with an eye towards showing.

You can visit Dill’s-A Little Goat Farm online at …

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Introduction 0:03
For the love of goats. We are talking about everything goat. Whether you’re a goat owner, a breeder, or just a fan of these wonderful creatures, we’ve got you covered. And now, here is Deborah Niemann.

Deborah Niemann 0:18
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode. Today, I am really excited to have a goat breeder with me, and that is Ellen Dorsey of Dill’s Goats in Oklahoma. She raises Nigerian Dwarfs, Alpines, and Toggenburgs, and in the past she’s also raised Nubians and a few mini dairy goats. She also happens to have been on the board of the American Dairy Goat Association for the past 10 years, and also on the board of the American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association. In her spare time, she raises cattle… Just kidding. She has no spare time. Because she’s also doing linear appraisal with her goats, and milk testing, and showing… Basically, she does all the things. There is literally nothing left that you can do with goats that Ellen does not do. Welcome to the show today, Ellen.

Ellen Dorsey 1:11
Thanks, Deborah. It’s nice to see you.

Deborah Niemann 1:13
Ellen and I, I guess we kind of met online, but then more when we were both on the board of the American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy…

Ellen Dorsey 1:22

Deborah Niemann 1:24
Yes. When we were both on the board of the American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association. That was probably seven or eight years ago. And I’m not doing that anymore, but Ellen is just a glutton for punishment, so she just keeps going with all of these boards and everything. And there’s so many things we could talk about. But, what I really want to talk about today—because it’s May, so we’re pretty much… Well, up here in Illinois, we’re at the beginning of show season. Down south, they’re already into the thick of it. And so, for people who’ve thought about showing, I thought this would be a really great time to talk to somebody who’s been doing this for a really long time. When did you start showing?

Ellen Dorsey 2:07
Well, I’ve been breeding for 22 years. So, I think we started showing around 21 years ago, because we were relatively new in dairy goats when we went to our first show.

Deborah Niemann 2:20
Okay, and why did you decide to do it?

Ellen Dorsey 2:24
It seemed like, maybe, it would be interesting. It just… We saw some different folks talking about it on the list—back then we had the Yahoo groups. You remember that, I’m sure?

Deborah Niemann 2:34
I remember, yeah.

Ellen Dorsey 2:36
Talking about it, and posting pictures, and that sort of thing. And we thought, “Well, why not?” There was a show up in Springfield, and it was a close enough drive to us, so I got… Found all the information I needed, and got my health certificate, and all those lovely things. And, of course, we had to have a scrapie identification number so we could cross state lines. Then, we attended our first show. And that was an eye-opening experience. It’s very, very different.

Deborah Niemann 3:08
So, can you expand on that a little bit? What was so eye-opening about it?

Ellen Dorsey 3:12
Well, my very first goats were actually pygmy-type goats. They weren’t registered. I always say “I cut my teeth on them.” I learned how to deal with goats with those few pygmy goats. And, a friend of mine offered me a couple of Nigerian Dwarfs. They needed re-homing; they had belonged to a friend of hers. And I thought, “Well, sure,” you know? So, they came over, and we thought, “Well, these are kind of cool.” You know, and you can milk them, and, you know, that sort of thing. So we thought, “Well, let’s get a few more.” So, we kind of looked around, and we picked up a few more. And we had this tiny little group, and I don’t even remember how many at that point, maybe 12-13 animals. So we decided to go to that first show. And we took these animals that we had purchased. And, well, we found out that our animals were not very good. They were a much different type than what was walking around in that show ring. And having a livestock background anyway, I could see it immediately. Oh, ours looked way different. You know, so it just opened up a whole new world. And so, when we went home, we knew that one of the first things we were going to have to do was sort out what wasn’t going to work and find something that would work. And so, that was the beginning of the crazy. Getting lots of goats, and keeping those few individuals that we felt like were a step in the right direction, and then culling everything else. And, of course, right after that I sold my pygmy herd, and, you know, and we focused strictly on the Nigerians at that point—and a few Alpines. And Nubians, you know, because once you start buying registered animals you just got to have more. That’s just the way it is.

Deborah Niemann 5:08
Right, yeah. That’s just the way it is. So, I know back in the early 2000s, when I was getting started with goats, I remember on the Yahoo groups a lot of people saying that going to shows was a good way to learn more about goats, especially, like conformation and the way that they should look and move and how the udder should look and everything. So, did you really learn a lot in the early years from the shows?

Ellen Dorsey 5:34
Yes, I really did. You know, it’s hard to listen to the judge when you’re in the ring and he’s giving his reasons, but it’s really important to try. You should listen to what they’re saying. You know, and of course, they give comparative reasons. They don’t go, “Well, this one just doesn’t cut it, because her pasterns are bad.” You know, they’re not going to say that. They’re going to say that this animal standing ahead of her is more correct, you know, she’s stronger on her feet and legs, you know, things like that. They’re not going to pick something specific and say it’s bad about your animal; they’re going to give comparisons. And, of course, that spares the exhibitors feelings too, you know, that they’re not picking your animal apart, but they’re telling you why the animal in front of you is better. And then, when they get to your animal, they say why she’s better than the one following her, you know. You see what I mean? And so, if you pay attention, you pick up quite a bit of information just by what that judge is telling you and the reasons. If you decide to go just to watch, you can watch those animals walking around the ring, and it’s very easy to pick up on the differences. You pick up on who has the better topline, who’s standing on stronger feet and legs, who’s walking better. And then, of course, the mammary system is a whole other universe. And you can see which ones are higher and tighter, which ones have a lot of movement and sway when the doe is walking, which one has the appropriate roundness up in the escutcheon, the appropriate perpendicular teats, or… You know, you can see these things as you watch these animals move around in the ring if you pay attention.

Deborah Niemann 7:19
Right. One of the things that, I think, surprised me, that I was not expecting—because I’d been to dog shows before. And, if you’re at dog shows, the judges are just walking around in silence, you know, and you can’t read their mind. And so, I was a little confused when people said, “Oh, you can learn a lot about goats by going to the shows,” because I wasn’t really prepared for the way that they were going to talk about the goats. And so, I love that part about showing. I mean, it’s one thing I miss. And that they are very positive, you know, like, they talk about the goat that they put in first place, and how good she looks, what all her strengths are. And then they go all the way down the line, and they always say something nice, even about the doe at the end.

Ellen Dorsey 8:02

Deborah Niemann 8:02
In fact, I remember, like, one of the first goats that we ever bought that we took to shows, it became a running joke that, like, we always knew the judge was gonna say, “And the doe at the end of the line should be commended for her length of body.”

Ellen Dorsey 8:18
Yeah, yeah. But they always find something nice, and it’s very important. You know, because if they stand there and say rude things about the animals in the lineup, then why would you go back? You know, no one wants to be abused. You want to see the positives. And so, that also makes, you know, shows a lot of fun. And you see the positive traits of each animal, and then you can determine whether or not you want those positive traits in your own breeding program. And it’s just… I don’t know. It really helps make you a better breeder, in my opinion.

Deborah Niemann 8:53
What are some of the things that you feel like you changed as a result of your showing?

Ellen Dorsey 8:59
Oh, goodness. Well, I always said, early on, I felt like a used goat dealer, because I was trying to find the handful of individuals that could actually be the foundation of my herd. When I went to that first show, I found out I didn’t have it. You know, those were not foundation-type animals. That’s not the traits you wanted to move forward with. You wanted to find something that was pretty to look at, had the correct function that you were looking for—which, in a dairy goat, obviously, is milk production. But then, you want that udder health, as well. It’s not just all about milk. That udder needs to be held up nice and high and tight against the body so it doesn’t get damaged in her day-to-day life. And so, you know, I saw those kind of things in the show ring, the nice things that I wanted, and I wanted goats like that, too. But, back in those days—that was the interesting thing. Back in those days, you couldn’t buy one animal unless you were just buying a baby goat. I didn’t want a baby goat. I wanted a doe. I wanted a doe that had an udder, that had some production, that I could see what she was doing. Preferably one that had a tiny little bit of age on her. You know, I wasn’t looking for a first freshener. I was looking for more like a four, five, six year old; something that had been around the block. Is she’s still on strong feet and legs? Is her udder still up there nice and tight? Does she have that depth of body we want to see? And, you know, I had to look around for those kinds of things. And you couldn’t buy one of those. Not back then. As you know, when you and I were in ANDDA, we were still considered a rare breed back then. Now the breed’s exploded, you know, and they’re the most common animal, and the fastest-growing breed, in the country. Certainly the fastest-growing breed in ADGA. And we outpace the Nubians in a big way in the American Dairy Goat Association. So, I ended up having to buy herds. So, people who had a herd for sale, I’m your man! And I bought herds. And then, I’d bring them home, and I’d milk them, and live with them for just a little bit, and I’d go, “Okay, you’ll do.” And I’d keep the one that I actually went after in the first place, and maybe a herdmate, if she was a good one, too. And then I’d sell the rest. And I bought and sold a lot of goats for two or three years before I finally got that foundation in my doe herd that I really wanted. And then, of course, I always say my herd is based on two bucks, because it is. One of my early bucks was PromisedLand CP Bounty Hunter. And the other one was Twin Creeks LS Luck of the Draw. And I talked Keith Harrell out of Luck of the Draw, I bought Bounty Hunter when he was a kid, and my herd was bounced back and forth on those two bucks for a number of years. And, even then, I just kept sorting, just continually sorting, and sorting out anything that I didn’t feel like met my criteria. And today, 22 years later, my entire herd traces back to those two bucks, and five does.

Deborah Niemann 12:17
I love what you just described now, because one of the things I remember, like, back when we were showing—me and my daughters—you would see someone new come to the show with, like, a couple of goats. Which you knew they dearly loved, because they just bought these two goats. And they’re thinking, you know, “I just bought these two wonderful pets, and this is going to be their forever home.” And it is a completely different mindset when you are buying livestock than when you are buying, like, a puppy or a kitten or something. And, we did the same thing, you know, in the beginning. From 2002 to 2005, we bought so many goats, but we also sold a lot of them, because, like, they would freshen once and we’d be like, “No. Mm-mm. Not gonna keep you.” And by 2005, we had so many does that we’ve never bought a doe since 2005. And that’s where I think some people… Well, there’s two problems. First, they don’t realize that the first goats they buy are not going to be their forever goats.

Ellen Dorsey 13:25

Deborah Niemann 13:25
Like, you’re gonna be learning. And, you might get lucky. But, you’re talking luck here, you know, if that goat gets to stick with you long-term. Because 80-90% of the goats that we bought in those first three years did not stay with us more than a year or two. And then, on the flip side, you have people that just can’t stop themselves from continuing to buy goats forever. And, if you do that, you’re never going to establish your ideal of a good goat. If you’re just bringing in new genetics constantly like that. Do you want to talk about that some more?

Ellen Dorsey 14:03
Well, I say all the time, “I’m a line breeder to the soles of my feet.” And I line breed constantly. And, of course, we have a running joke: “If it doesn’t work out, it’s inbred.” You know, and if it works out well, then it’s a well line bred goat. But that also brings you consistency in your type. And so, if you look at my herd—now especially—you look at my herd and you look at each individual… I like to put up comparative pictures sometimes, because if all you did was change its hair coat, it’s the same goat over and over and over and over. And I keep repeating the same goat over and over and over again. They just happen to be different colors. And, the reason I’ve managed to do that is because of my line breeding mentality. I keep it that way. I don’t buy goats—unless it’s a buck. I bring in a new buck every couple of years, maybe—well, probably more like four or five years, because you’ve got to introduce something new sometimes to keep the vigor in your herd. And then, too, you’re always trying to correct something. You know, I’m always trying to make it better; they’ve got to be better. One of the things here, recently, that I’ve really focused on is the crops—which are the shoulders. And if there’s a lot of movement in the crops… Well, mine do that, and I don’t like it. So I’ve been really working to tighten that up. But, you don’t want to lose anything in translation. So, you know, I keep line breeding on what I know, and adding a little bit of this in here somewhere, and, typically, it’s two or three generations down before you really see what that animal has done. It’s not that first generation, sometimes it’s not even the second generation, that you see the improvement for why you added that particular animal. I mean, to me, I always say, “The fastest way to get consistency in your herd”—of course, you want it to be consistently good, not consistently bad. But the fastest way to do that is through line breeding, and getting a type set in your mind that you want, and that’s what you’re constantly focusing on, that type. What do you want? And for me, I want an excellent animal. I want animals that appraise high. And so, I have this type in my head, and I just keep working at those traits that would give me that excellent animal.

Deborah Niemann 16:32
That’s a really good point. I think so many people just look at the hair—or the eye—color. Because I actually just got an email from somebody a couple days ago, saying that, you know, she had this cute little baby buck that was born that has moon spots, and she’s like, “Can I keep it? Should I keep him as a buck?” And it’s like, and I asked her, I’m like, “Well, it depends on what your goals are for your breeding program,” you know? Like, every time I’m looking at baby bucks, I’m just like, “Give me a reason to not castrate you.” Like, it’s pretty much every buck that is born here is going to be castrated unless his mom… You know, she’s got to be one of my best milkers in terms of production, I’ve got to love her udder, I’ve got to love her teats. Because that’s our main focus is on the dairy aspect, is that we want to be raising really good little backyard milkers that are going to be productive and easy for people to milk. And nowhere does this eye color or coat color play into that. You get no points in the show ring, you get no points in the milk bucket, based on any of those things.

Ellen Dorsey 17:43
Yeah. No, like you, my full time job is a farmer, and I actually run a dairy from here, and I milk anywhere between 50 and 60 does twice a day. That’s what I do. They have to have production, or they don’t need to be here. And so, I tell people all the time, “You’ve gotta pay attention to the does.” The does that are ahead of her, and the does that are behind her, her daughters, you know? And, of course, I’m thinking ancestry, you know. Her dam, her sire’s dam, her sisters, his sisters, the dam’s sisters, you know, what do the does do in those lines? And that’s how you want to focus your program. Look at the does. I don’t care how pretty a buck is. I don’t care how many awards he’s won. In fact, I haven’t shown a buck in years and years and years, because I have no respect for them. Um, that’s a terrible thing to say… But I really don’t! You know, they have one purpose. They have one purpose, and that’s to make children, you know? And so, he needs to have a correct dam, and his sire’s dam has to be correct, and all the female relatives just have to be wonderful for them to come and look at my does. That’s just the way it works. I answered a question the other day on Facebook; they were talking about dam lines and sire lines. And I told them, “If you don’t pay attention to the dam lines, you will fail.” You will. It doesn’t matter what they do in the show room—or what a buck does in the show room. It really has no bearing whatsoever on your breeding program. It’s your does that matter.

Deborah Niemann 19:19
About 10 years ago, I bought a new buck. Because, I’m like you; I buy a new buck every four or five years to get some new blood here. And then, this was probably about 10 years ago, I bought a new buck, and the breeder was so excited, and she kept emailing and saying, “What do you think of him? What do you think of him?” And I’m like, “I’ll let you know in three years when his daughters are on their second freshening.”

Ellen Dorsey 19:42
Yeah, exactly! But, like I said, even that… Sometimes it’s three generations down before you ever really see the impact that that animal has had on your program. I hate outcrossing. Outcrossing makes me crazy. Because you never know what they’re gonna do. You know, they could come in with some kind of shem shaly thing that you don’t ever want to see. And you don’t know until you cross them with your beloved does, you know. But you brought him in for a trait, so you’re gonna hang in there, and you keep a few daughters. You keep, you know, a granddaughter. A friend, he’ll breed his does, and he’ll keep a son, and then he uses that son on his herd, and, you know, gets rid of the original one. I tend to keep daughters, because I want to see, you know, quickly, in my opinion, what those daughters do. So we have a little bit of a difference on how we do things. But we still do things very, very similar. You know, so it may be, like you say, three years later before you actually see what that buck has done. And for me, it’s in the subsequent offspring, rather than that first generation, because a lot of times that first generation just doesn’t work out very well.

Deborah Niemann 20:57
Yeah. Yeah, what I do is, I initially keep, like, four or five daughters. And then, if I like the daughters, then I will keep a son.

Ellen Dorsey 21:08
Yes. That’s me, too. I’m the same.

Deborah Niemann 21:11
Yeah. One thing that did happen to me, like, a long time ago, was I did keep a son early on; I kept him and his sister both. And his sister literally turned out to be, like, one of the worst two or three milkers I ever had. And I was just horrified that I had bred her brother to some of my other does. It was just like, “Oh, no!”

Ellen Dorsey 21:38
Back a few years ago, when, you know, we had—a lot of our shows had—the senior doe, junior doe, buck show, you know, everything was combined. You know, and it was before we were in ADGA. And so our AGS show, you tended to have the three shows together, you know, so you saw a lot of the bucks and things like that, too, at those shows. And I remember this pair, a doe and her brother, and the sister was constantly at the back of the line where she belonged, because her udder was absolutely horrific. But that buck, he championed just really, really fast. He was beautiful. Beautiful, you know, long body, nice stance, you know, uphill—everything you’d want to see in a show buck. And he was absolutely beautiful, but his sister was yucky. And, for some reason, people were still going, “I want a buck out of that buck.” And I’m thinking, “Why would you do that to your program? You saw his sister, didn’t you?” And it’s kind of a different mindset, buying animals based on a show win for a buck. Don’t do it. Check out the does. Trust me. I promise.

Deborah Niemann 23:04
Yeah, exactly. That was another thing I learned, too, in the early years. I actually bought a three-year-old buck at a show. He was gorgeous. He won champion that day. And I was just like, “I want to buy that buck!” And I bought him right there at the show. I had not looked at his pedigree very well. I wound up not keeping a single doe out of him more than two years.

Ellen Dorsey 23:28
Yeah. Yep.

Deborah Niemann 23:29
Like, none of them had a good udder, or teats, and their milk production was substandard. And it was just horribly disappointing. And, it was a good lesson, though.

Ellen Dorsey 23:42
You do learn. I mean, hopefully. It might take a few years, you know, to get it figured out. But, if older breeders can save younger breeders a little bit of heartache, you know: Don’t do that. Pay attention to the does, because that really, truly, in a dairy breed, that’s what’s important. Not those bucks. It’s in the does.

Deborah Niemann 24:03
Yeah. And that’s one other thing, too. I remember when I was new to goats, I was looking at websites, because Nigerian breeders, I feel like, have always been very serious, as long as I’ve been doing this. And they’ve had websites, and they had, you know, pictures of their does that are show-clipped, pictures of their udders. And when, I was new, I was like, “That is so weird. Why do they have pictures of the udders?” And then after, you know, like two or three years, I’m like, “Oh, now I understand!” And you can tell, like, new people are always like, “Oh, I want to see baby pictures.” And experienced people are like, “I want to see mom’s udder. I want to see grandma’s udder on both sides. I want to see milk production records.”

Ellen Dorsey 24:45
Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I tell my buyers all the time, too, you know, they’re interested in purchasing offspring, you know, and I’ll say, “Well, here’s one picture. That’s all you’re gonna get.” And the kid might be laying down for all I know, you know, because sometimes they don’t want to stand up and take that bottle pretty. So, you got a color shot. This is what the kid looks like. Now, if you come and ask me to take 80 pictures of that kid for you, it’s not going to happen. I’m really, really busy. But here’s his Mom. I’ll show you his mom, because that’s what you should be looking at anyway. You should be looking at the females in the pedigree.

Deborah Niemann 25:20
Yeah, exactly. So, if somebody was thinking about showing goats, what is some advice that you would give them about getting started?

Ellen Dorsey 25:29
Well, you need a lot of money. Because it’s not cheap. It takes a lot of energy, but you want to be really organized. Put together your tack box. You’re always going to forget something. So, you know, figure out where the closest Walmart is to your show location, because you’re going to be there, you know. But you want to be really organized. You want to make sure that you’re hauling your animals comfortably. That’s something that we’re really big on, is the comfort and care of the animal. So, she needs to have some room to move around, even if you carry them in crates, which is perfectly fine. There’s nothing wrong with using dog crates to move your Nigerian Dwarfs around. I wouldn’t do it with an Alpine, you know, because they don’t make a crate big enough. We happen to use a trailer. But she needs to have plenty of room to get up and move around and spin around in that box without being uncomfortable, because it’s very important that they travel well. Because, if they don’t, they might be sick, you’re not going to have any milk in their udder, something. Something is going to happen if they’re not comfortable on that trip. And, of course, you always want them on clean bedding, and that they’ve got plenty of airflow, and that they’re kept cool or warm, depending on the time of the year, whatever you’re doing. Because it’s just really important to move them about in a good way. Beyond that, you should have a nice tack box with the few things you need: your show collars; maybe a set of clippers, if you need to clip out your udders; we have a tie out chain. If I’m going a long distance, I keep a first aid kit for the goats and for myself. And, of course, we keep a variety of brushes, our milking equipment, things for udder health. Keeping the mammary system clean so when you milk out after the show, you know, you’re doing it in a nice clean environment. And then, of course, you treat her just like you would at home, you know—whatever it is that you would do at home to keep her healthy when she’s at that show. And, of course, one of the first things that we do when we arrive at a show is cleanse the area that they’re going to go in, because you just don’t know what’s been in the pen before you got there. So, it’s always a good idea to cleanse the area first before you bring your goats in.

Deborah Niemann 27:52
Yeah, I remember that one time when I was at a show, somebody said, “Last year everybody that came to this show wound up with ringworm.” Because it was a fair show, and there had been sheep in the pens the day before.

Ellen Dorsey 28:08

Deborah Niemann 28:09
Which, needless to say, had me a little freaked out.

Ellen Dorsey 28:13
Yes. So, we have these wonderful sprays. One, it’s a Novalsan type spray that you spray your pens with. But even a simple bleach-water will do it, or vinegar and water will, you know, will kill an awful lot of stuff that might be on those pens, and in that concrete, or, you know, dirt—whatever it is that you’re going to be putting your animals in. And then, you make sure you have nice clean bedding. But yeah, there’s a lot of people complaining of picking up stuff at shows. Fortunately for me, in all the years I’ve been showing, I have never brought a sick goat home from the show. Never. And I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been lucky, or if it’s because I do bring them out and they have really hardy immune systems. I really don’t know. But, we have not come home with any kind of bugaboos that other people typically, you know, they talk about coming home from the show with. So, I’ve been very, very fortunate.

Deborah Niemann 29:14
The only thing we ever came home with was pinkeye. Because there’s a show in Illinois… It’s, like, the biggest show; it’s not even the State Fair, but the biggest show. Like fills up weeks before and the pens… There are no tack pens allowed, even, because every single pen is full of goats. And, I actually did not go to that one, because my oldest daughter had her driver’s license by then. And, when they came home, they said, “Just to let you know, we might have a pinkeye problem.” Because they said there were so many flies, and the flies were getting into the goats’ eyes. And we did. We wound up with a lot of the goats getting pinkeye. But luckily, that’s transient. It’s awful in the middle, but it is transient.

Ellen Dorsey 30:07
It’s really the least of your worries. You know, pinkeye is not a big deal. Sore mouth, even, is not a big deal. It’s a nuisance, but it’s not a big deal. You know, once it runs its course, it’s done. And you do see that at shows, too. I’ve been to a few national shows where people brought in animals that had sore mouth, and you go, “Great!” Now, it didn’t come home with me. So, knock on wood, we did okay, you know. But there were animals there that did have it, and I know other herds contracted it, which is, you know, really unfortunate. And then ringworm, as you mentioned earlier, that’s another one. Again, easy to deal with. It’s just a nuisance. But there are other things that are awful that animals could come back with, and those things you just… You do your best. Try to keep some separation between your herd and other herds. Don’t let them talk to each other through the panels, you know. Things like that. And you can keep your herd relatively healthy, when, you know, going out and enjoying yourself.

Deborah Niemann 31:11
One of the mistakes that we made at our very first show—so I like the fact that you said “Make a list and be organized”—because, when we went to our very first show… Thankfully, we only had one goat in milk with us. We brought one doe in milk and two kids; we did not take a milk stand. Thankfully, she was an absolute angel. She just stood there, right in the middle of this wide-open barn, and let us milk her. Because not every goat would let you do that.

Ellen Dorsey 31:42
No. they would not. They would not. One of the things that we have to do when we’re at nationals: They’ll pick a few animals that they want to milk out—after the senior doe show is over—to choose Best Udder. And, the ones that are chosen, you have to milk them out right there in the show room. Some people, they’ve hauled their milk stand up there, you know. Me, I milk them on the ground, you know, into my stainless steel bucket. So, what I did was have my partner put the doe’s head between her legs, and that way, basically, the does was in a milk stand on the ground, and she couldn’t go anywhere. And then, I just crouched down in there and I milk my doe out. So, milking on the ground is… I don’t recommend it. So, if you ever go to nationals, make sure you have a portable milk stand; it makes life a little bit easier.

Deborah Niemann 32:37
Yeah, that’s another good tip. So, this has been a lot of fun and super interesting and hopefully really helpful for people who’ve been curious about the possibility of showing. Do you have any final words of wisdom for somebody who wants to get started?

Ellen Dorsey 32:53
Just do it. It’s a lot of fun. It really is. You know, a lot of times… Competition brings out the worst in people sometimes. But it also brings out the best in people. And I tell everybody, you know, “Welcome to the world of goats. Here we are.” The people that are not nice—don’t give them the time of day. It’s not worth wasting your time on. The people that are nice: Those are the ones that are going to become your lifelong friends. And it can be a really, really good time. Go around, visit, you know, because everybody loves to talk goats. That’s what people at shows do. We love our goats, and we love to talk about our goats. So, walk around and visit. Introduce yourself. It’s so much fun if you really go in there with a good attitude.

Deborah Niemann 33:38
That’s awesome. That is a really great note to end on. Thank you so much for joining us today!

Deborah Niemann 33:44
And that’s it for today’s show. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to hit the subscribe button so that you don’t miss any episodes. To see show notes, you can always visit, and you can follow us on Facebook at See you again next time. Bye for now!

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