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Tale Of The Ear pt3
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Quixote LaManchas

laying the foundation

During the 1930's Hard Times Economics and Purebred Concepts collided; the North American dairy goat world was rent apart with the adoption by AMGRA of the "Tenth Cross Rule" which allowed goats with ten generations of purebred sires behind them to be registered as purebreds. (SAANEN ROOTS - Alan Rogers - pages 26,27)

To the AMGRA loyalists it made sense to figure a way to retrieve more goats for the herdbooks which would - at the same time - keep the association solvent. Those purists who could not live with this "heresy" departed forming the American Goat Society. A bitter battle ensued.

For the record: it was known that the Swiss, from whom Americans imported Saanen, Toggenburg and Alpine stock, had never put much store in written pedigrees for their breeds. Regular inspections by "experts" were considered more than adequate to designate breed differences which in most cases came down to color preferences. Anglo Nubians - imported from Great Britain - arrived with pedigrees which clearly indicated that their imported lop earred exotic bucks had been crossed with either British Alpines or - early on - native stock (NUBIAN HISTORY - Reinhardt & Hall - page 70)

This philosophical (or maybe just semantic) problem was not resolved, but the registry door now stood slightly ajar. Opportunity knocked and a new "breed" whose uniqueness was her mutant ear stepped over the threshold.

On January 27, 1958 AMGRA inspection of the goats which were to become the first registered LaManchas finally began after a delay - for reasons unknown, but perhaps because Fay Frey was in the process of relocating to Southern Oregon - of two years from the date of the announcement of intent.

The inspectors were AMGRA president Marvin Maxwell (Delta), N.S. Goodridge (Rio Linda), Ted Johnson (Gold Crown - Oregon inspections only) and Donovan Beal (Naja - California inspections only.) How restrictive the inspections were - any candidates rejected? - has never been clarified.

The initial group of approximately 28 Fay LaManchas included 9 polled bucks and 2 horned or disbudded ones. An odd fact considering how few polled LaManchas are seen 40+ years later. (In the smaller Midolane group - which we will discuss later- one buck, Prince II and some of his progeny were polled.)

There are no known dates for the succeeding Frey inspections following the first 28 in 1958, however all these registrants (L1 through L183) have Fay prefixes with the exception of 10 animals with Bomar prefixes all of whom have registered Fay sires and dams. The AMGRA secretary, R.W. Soens (Bomar) moved a small group including 8 does and one polled white buck, Fay's Stevie L138p, to North Carolina putting them on DHIR test in 1958. We will return to their story later.

The majority of the first 118 registration numbers were assigned to animals with either one of both parents designated "unknown." A few had parents "named" with lower registry numbers. (In the later Midolane and Blue Diamond groups some parents are named but not given registry numbers - presumably because they were not offered for inspection or even alive at that time.) The last Fay goat to be registered with a parent listed as "unknown" was L118p Tammy born in 1957, which would imply that there was no further need for inspection of Fay animals.

Fay's Ernie L1p
Approximately 1/4 of the first 78 LaManchas registered were sired by Fay's Ernie L1p, a tall, "wedgy", straightfaced, light colored buck - born 4-16-48 - only 10 years after the Frey's had first encountered LaManchas.

According to Mrs. Frey most of her foundation herd had "regular" (elf) ears and "cookie" ears (her name for elf ears with a reverse tip) and the rule to register only "gopher" (apparently also a term which originated with Mrs. Frey) ear bucks was made only in 1960. This rule did not disqualify bucks with "regular" (elf) ears that had been registered prior to 1960. The reason for this rule was to eliminate the possibility of a throw back to the standard: prick (swiss) or lop (nubian) ear.

There is no record of her making any comment about breeding gopher to gopher ear individuals which we now know will, invariably, only produce more gopher progeny without any serious possibility of a throw back to elf ears. She did however make a distinction between a "long" and "short" gopher ear. A distinction which is apparently now too vague to be relevant.

The gopher ear is a rounded, wrinkled fold of skin lying quite flat to the skull with a triangulated "pixie" tip flap with limited mobility. The elf ear, which is essentially a marker of crossbreeding, stands out from the head, indicating the presence of cartilage, It also must carry the trademark bent "pixie" tip associated with the gopher ear. The maximum length allowable and just how to measure that length on the elf ear has continued to be controversial. Anything measuring much over 2 inches at maturity and measured when the ear is NOT stretched out appears to be unacceptable.

The few surviving (unposed) photographs of Fay Frey's crossbred does show images of rather ordinary, dairy type. grade goats with longish, but obviously, LaMancha style elf ears. The udders were clearly not well attached. Perhaps there were good udders within this large group, but the photographic evidence is not available to us. It should be noted that prior to this time there was not much agreement on uniformity of good type in the other breeds either. Udder improvement on a consistent basis was the biproduct of several developments which began to gather steam in the 1960s.

There is no indication that Mrs. Frey ever showed her LaManchas competitively - although she apparently loved to "show them off."


Fay Frey wearing a sunbonnet and driving a team of matched cou noir LaMancha wethers pulling a miniature covered wagon in the Oregon Centennial parade on June 20, 1959.

ADGA paused at the end of the decade to recognize Fay Frey's truly original contribution to the world of dairy goats. On October 15, 1960 at their annual banquet held in Springfield IL Mrs. Frey was presented with the Mary L. Farley award: "In recognition of her years of work in developing the LaMancha breed." She was so surprised that her many friends had difficulty convincing her that she was worthy of the highest award they could bestow on her.



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