SRMGA Breeders Spotlight: SHUSH Boer Goats
We are the Petersons from Selah, Washington located in the fertile Yakima Valley.
SHUSH stands for Steven, Heather _ Serena, Haylee
We started raising goats by accident in 2005. Our oldest daughter Serena was 7 and had some birthday money to invest. We went to our local livestock auction to purchase her a calf to grow and resell. She saw the goats and bugged us for weeks to get goats. Dad finally broke down and she purchased 5 Boer cross goats. Like many families, our interest in obtaining better quality came through 4H as our daughters wanted to be more competitive(or mom/dad wanted to be more competitive ). We began to see how easy it was to market butcher goats to our local diverse ethnic community. Our herd quickly grew from 5 goats to 200+. Serena invested in a herd of registered Fullblood does and that started us down the path to the registered Boer market.
Serena is now a sophomore at WSU and we have been in the process of dispersing her herd. We currently have a total family herd made up of about 40 Fullblood does, 50 percentage/commercial does, our winter kid crop, and way too many bucks. We are continuing our downsizing efforts as Haylee is a Junior in high school and is a backbone of the farm’s daily activity.
Our main goal is to breed a rugged, productive animal that is low maintenance yet good to look at. We do not breed specifically for the show ring but believe our animals can be competitive there. Our main focus has been the sale of registered bucks to commercial breeders, show wethers for 4H/FFA kids, and lastly butcher goats. We run our operation as a business and our goats must be profitable to stay on our farm. I have said it many times……the #1 profit trait is productivity.
We love to see a SHUSH goat make a difference in someone else program; whether that be breeding, showing, sales, etc. We like to go to fairs and see our genetics on display in a child’s project animal . But one of our biggest thrills is to see a customer buy a kid, grow it up, fit it up, and then take it to cataloged production sale and make a bunch of money.
What would I like to see happen in the goat industry? That is a tough question because there are so many facets to the industry and reasons why people raise goats. We jokingly say there are the “pet people” and “livestock people”, but there is a lot of truth to that. Why we raise goats is not the same reason why someone who has 3 backyard goats does.
From the registered goat perspective, I would like to see a rule change to create a process for a 99% Purebred doe to eventually produce Fullblood kids (after a certain amount of generations). The truth is we now have an Americanized Boer goat. I believe we are diminishing the value of animals that breeders have worked for generations to consistently upgrade and improve.
From a production standpoint, we need more education as to how to properly raise goats. They are not the same as every other livestock species.
Lastly, we really need more veterinarians that understand, know, and are willing to work on goats. We call Heather the “911 Goat Helpline” because her phone rings non-stop from people needing help and advice.
There have been so many people in this industry that have been helpful in many different ways. For those new to goats, find some folks that will answer questions and mentor you. But don’t hesitate to do your own research as well if you want to be successful. What works for us may not work for your operation.