Named after Wesley E. Sawyer, Sonora, Texas
Wesley Sawyer, like most Texans of his day, kept Spanish goats. When Wesley Sawyer passed away, his nephew Ed Sawyer inherited the herd. Ed Sawyer had always liked Spanish goats, and began to breed the goats to bring out their vigor and strength, developing a line that both breeders of Spanish goats and non-Spanish goats want to breed into their herds.
Sawyer’s goats rotate pastures on a 14,000-acre ranch of rolling hills of rocky terrain, foraging on Live Oaks, Shin Oaks, and a variety of grasses. The goats are divided into groups, but the group sizes change according to the size of the pasture they are put into. Their feed is supplemented only if necessary in the winter with 20% protein blocks. Nannies tend to weigh 130?50 lbs, billies weigh approximately 200 lbs.
Billies are kept separate, and brought in early September for February kidding. The nannies kid in the pasture, and Sawyer obtains a kid crop of approximately 165%, with mostly twins and singles, and some triplets. Sawyer also keeps a “best?herd—those that he believes are superior to the rest. This herd is kept separate from the others and they breed amongst themselves, but some are also sold or culled. Sawyer breeds for good conformation, good udders, and “attitude;?he has no time for overly-wild goats. Color does not factor into Sawyer’s breeding choices at all, so his herd shows a great variety of colors. The horns are very consistent, and there are varying levels of cashmere on his goats. The culled does and wethers are sold at auction, and Sawyer also sells breeding stock to other goat ranchers. He is presently building up the size of his herd, but slowly and carefully, culling about 25% annually.
Sawyer deworms about three times per year, and the time for deworming is usually set to coincide with the handling and movement of the goats.
Sawyer uses only one method of predator control, which comes in the shape of his ranch foreman’s rifle. Although there are occasional attacks by eagles, bobcats, and foxes, there are no coyotes around. The foreman keeps an eye out for predators, but there has been very little problem of predation on Sawyer’s ranch.
Sawyer looks forward to continuing breeding purebred Spanish goats for years to come. He enjoys them.
Story by Ed Sawyer, February 2008