Welcome to Kickadee Hill!
“Kickadee” is a word we created to describe the gleeful way a goat will run and jump into the air, tossing her head and kicking all four legs in the air at once. When it came time to select a herd name, we decided that wherever our goat adventure took us, we’d like our goats to always be happy enough to go “kickadee down the hill”.
Brad and I were both born and raised on farms, and grew up caring for animals. We bought our first goats, a pair of Alpine does, in 1983. Like most folks, we got goats in the first place for the simple pleasures of the goat and her products. We quickly grew to four breeds and found that we needed them to make money so that we could afford them. We obtained a raw milk license and a goats’ milk fudge making permit, then opened a dairy in northwestern Pennsylvania. For over a decade we had a farm store where we sold our products. We closed the dairy and moved to Charleston, West Virginia in 1997 so that Brad could accept a new job. Now we are back to raising goats for pleasure. We have been exclusively Saanen since the move in 1997.
The style of goat we breed today is the result of many years of work in the trenches. We went on DHIR standard test in 1989, and began to learn how to use the production data to choose sires that would improve our production. By 1993, we were first place out of 44 Pennsylvania goat herds with a rolling herd average of 3423 lbs. milk, 121 lbs. butterfat, and 105 lbs. protein. During the early 90’s, we averaged five or six does across four breeds in the National Top Ten for Production each year. Those Top Ten does had 4,000+ lactations after birthing triplets and occasionally quads. With that rate of productivity, the does were walking a metabolic tightrope. The extra money we were making on milk was going straight into veterinary care. Their structure just could not sustain their production. In 1991, we began to use ADGA’s linear appraisal system to improve our structure. As we did the with production data, we studied the appraisal system to learn how to effectively use the data acquired on our animals to improve our type. Through breeding and lots of work we’ve developed the style of goat that pleases us.
Fall 1991 Store and Doe Barn in Pennsylvania
We’ve owned 30 Permanent Champions in our goat lifetime. 18 of them were goats that we raised and showed ourselves while 12 were goats that we sold as kids and other people raised and finished. We’ve been to the National Show three times, and placed in the top ten placing of the classes. At our peak, we freshened 35 does annually, had a raw milk license and a fudge making permit, and ran a farm store. These days, we keep the herd small so that we have time to enjoy the animals and the farming lifestyle.
Fall 2011 Our West Virginia Home
Our goal is to breed Saanens who are reliable in the milk parlor and competitive in the show ring. Although we no longer sell milk for a living, we still milk year round to supply our home with milk and cheese. We breed for long, level lactations that provide a steady supply of milk throughout the year. We keep goats for our pleasure, so we breed for easy temperaments that give us personalities that can get along easily within the herd as well as with the humans who care for them. We breed for substance and sound structure to create low maintenance animals who are capable of being productive well into their later years.
We want our goats to be friendly, happy and healthy. And all of these years later, we are pleased to report that our goats still go “kickadee down the hill”.
Brad and Marilyn Grossman
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