Named after Gene and Margaret Bode, Harper, Texas
Gene Bode is a man who has always loved Spanish goats. Even his grandfather kept Spanish goats for the family table, and Bode loves goat meat barbecued, baked, and fried. Bode can taste the difference between Boer meat and Spanish meat. He finds the Boer meat to be fattier, and the Spanish meat has a notably different flavor which he prefers, as do many of his friends.
Bode began raising purebred Spanish goats in the early 1960’s. His first goats were purchased from Mr. Parker at Black Bull Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas (no longer in business). Bode began to take breeding very seriously in 1987, and added more top bucks to his herd from a few different sources, including some from the Kensing strain.
Bode would cull the smaller goats, and preferred greater length and height. His biggest bucks?backs were waist-high, and Bode enjoys a height of nearly six feet. Bode did not breed for color, but preferred the colorful spotted goats. His herd sported horns that went straight back. The goats?ears were solid, not floppy, fairly short, and were held straight back.
Bode’s goats were kept in Sonora, Terville, and at home in Harper. The terrain is hilly with limestone rock that would keep the goats?hooves in excellent condition naturally. Their forage included Shin Oak, Spanish Oak, and a lot of low, leafy brush. He did find that if the goats gorged on too many acorns, they would get sick from the toxins.
Owning a feed store came in very handy. Bode formulated a feed that included hay, grain, and minerals, and had it mixed at the store. The goats would each eat about 5 lbs per day of this feed, and even Christmas Day would bring Gene Bode to his goats, lugging 40 sacks of feed. He attributes the fact that in 30 years he never had to worm his goats to his feeding technique. He also believes it was one of the reasons why his goats were so prolific.
Bode’s goats had excellent birth rates—every year at least one doe would have quintuplets, four would have quadruplets, and about 100 would have triplets. The does could successfully feed their young, even the quintuplets. However, if for some reason a kid needed assistance, the Bodes would be there to help. At one time, when the herd had reached 1,000, Margaret Bode bottle fed 30 kids in one season. Bode only bred once per year, and would not begin breeding the does until they were yearlings.
Bode did not have a predator problem. Except for one year, however, at Terville. . . black crows came in at kidding time. The dogs couldn’t catch the crows, or keep up with all of them. That year, Bode lost 130 kids to crows.
During his years as a breeder, Bode would buy, sell, and trade goats, but always kept to purebred Spanish. He asserts that they’re best there is.
History of Bode herd from Gene Bode, January 2008.