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Monday, October 28, 2013

After Convention- so what's next?

A lot of people wonder what comes after Convention.

Something that big breeders and small breeders, famous breeders and newbies all have in common.  We all come home and we cull, cull, cull.

Cull is something of a dirty word nowadays.  The uninformed tend to think it means kill, when the word cull actually means to "the process of removing breeding animals from a group based on specific criteria." (wikipedia, ya'll!).  Even the BOB winners come home and evaluate their stock and make determinations on what fits best with their breeding programs and what needs to move along.

In my case, this is exactly what I am doing.  Some litters of juniors are reaching that age where I have to decide if I am going to grow out one, none, or all of them.  It's time to move on any does and bucks that I don't see myself using very much.  Winter is coming and I need to reduce stock to care for.  This may mean that animals end up in a pet, breeding or show home.  Yes, it may mean that I end up having to fatally cull them.  At least in the case of the last option, I know that my animals are loved, respected and cared for even as they take their last breaths.  No rotting away in a filthy cage in a neglectful "pet home" found via the first person to contact me from Craigslist. 

In any case, I've already identified some young brood stock to let go.  There are a few others that I am having a hard time with.  Is that brother larger and going to be a brood, or is his brother just particularly small?  Those ears look terrible right now, but is it because they are in their uglies, or is that going to be a permanent trend?  What about that junior in uglies?  He's nice, but is he nice enough to become a Keep's herd buck?

So many decisions to be made and Convention has done nothing but made me pickier.  I find myself looking at some of the juniors left behind with a jaundiced eye, comparing them to some of the animals I sold recently.  I think my buyers got the best of me this time, as I am missing the bucks that left me.

At least Convention has given me a new perspective on what I need to improve and who will help me do that.   The current herd better watch out- there is always a new batch of juniors just around the bend, ready to make them work for their places.


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