Named after Eugene Bradshaw, Christoval, Texas
Like many Texas ranchers, Eugene Bradshaw was born into goat ranching. His family raised angoras, but when the mohair subsidy ended, Bradshaw, then a young man heading-up the ranch, switched courses and began to raise Spanish meat goats.
Bradshaw’s first goats came from neighboring ranches: Doug Jones, the Robinson Ranch, and the Abernathy herd all contributed to Bradshaw’s original Spanish herd, and he added a few choice goats that were selected carefully from the auction ring.
Bradshaw’s original herd included a variety of colors, but around the mid-1990’s, he developed a preference for all-black goats, enjoying the eye-appeal of a solid-colored herd. But even the all-black goats were strongly scrutinized when it came to culling. Bradshaw has always demanded good conformation and breeding ability from his goats.
The Bradshaw line has been raised to 1400 acres of rolling hills in the hill country of Texas, foraging on the sparse range of live oak and woody brush. They are occasionally given corn and minerals as a supplement.
Bradshaw has two kidding seasons—spring and fall. His kid crop runs at about 100–130% per season (and about 150% per year). Usually he raises 2 kid crops every three years, and if nannies do not kid at all for a year, they are culled. Bradshaw keeps a few billies per hundred goats, and billies are re-evaluated every year. Kids are born in March, April, and May, and also in October, November, and December. At Christmas, and in late May, the billies are removed for a few months, but other than those times, they run with the herd.
Bradshaw’s kidding times are strategically planned—the months of November through April are eagle season on Bradshaw’s ranch. By avoiding having kids when eagle predation is imminent, and waiting to kid after the eagles fly north, Bradshaw can reduce his losses. Attacks by bobcats and racoons remain. Bradshaw knows that if dogs are not fed regularly they’ll turn on the goats for meat, so he prefers to use traps.
The Bradshaw herd has recently drawn some genetics from Syfan and Kensing herds, but has also contributed its unique genes to other Spanish bloodlines. Bradshaw used to run tow or three thousand head of Boer nannies, but sold them all as they had poor mothering abilities compared to his Spanish goats. After a lifetime of goat breeding experience, Bradshaw has maintained, and prefers, Spanish goats.
Story by Eugene Bradshaw, October 2010.
Eugene Bradshaw passed away on March 9, 2014.