This is the story of my first interest in the American La Mancha dairy goats.
Mrs. Eula Fay Frey pictured with some of her does, pictured left to right: Rhonda (8 years old), Darlene (4 years old), and Sharon (1-1/2 years). Back of photo reads: “Sharon (born late 1952) is daughter of Darlene. Darlene (born 5-16-50) is daughter of Rhonda. Rhonda is sired by Scamp. Darlene is sired by Ernie. Sharon is sired by Scoundrel.” Scoundrel was Mrs. Frey’s primary herd sire for the early 1960s. Photo taken in 1964.
I am a great lover of most all animals, especially goats. In 1937 or prior to that time, I subscribed to Dairy Goat Journal and read everything I could find in it regarding the benefits derived from the use of goat milk. My husband, the late Jene S. Frey, was seriously ill from overwork and stomach ulcers and I was trying to get him interested in using goat milk.
In September 1937 we bought Poplar Goat Dairy in Bell, California. Mr. Frey was completely cured of ulcers by going on a strict diet of natural goat milk and tomato juice. He then enjoyed excellent health until he was the victim of a traffic accident in November, 1942.
We bought 130 goats, two of which had very small ears. The small-eared ones were a doe and her son, an early 1937 kid named Tommy. The doe was small and of a roan color. Tommy was a rich golden brown.
We had never seen goats with such small ears and at the time were not very favorably impressed by them. We didn’t know what breed name to call them, so just called them “short ears.” It was several years later that we learned that the short-eared goats were descendants of a Spanish breed known as La Mancha. LaManchas were brought into the United States from Mexico, the stock first having been imported from Spain to that country.
I wasn’t interested in the short ears, but I did take a great interest in two Nubian-French Alpine first fresheners. They were beautiful and I named them Rose and Toy. Rose was tricolored and Toy was black and tan, and quite small.
We agreed to use Tommy (the short-eared buck) on the does that we weren’t going to save kids from. Rose was the last doe bred to Tommy. By the time Rose freshened on May 23, 1938, Tommy, his offspring, and also his mother had been destroyed or sold. I milked Tommy’s mother just once and was amazed at the amount of milk produced by so small an animal.
Peggy and her buck kid, Rascal.
The result of the breeding of Rose to Tommy was a buck that looked like his mother, and one of the most beautiful short-eared doe kids I have ever seen. She was golden brown and curly and had very large eyes. Jene and I both said in the same breath, “Let’s keep her.” I named her Peggy. She was my pride and joy and I took her most every place that I went while she was a kid. She was very intelligent and I taught her several tricks. Peggy developed into a short-haired, sleek doe. So because of Peggy my interest in the short-eared goats, the La Manchas, developed.
Peggy was bred to Jim, a cross between a Nubian and French Alpine. She produced a short-eared buck, a short-eared doe, and a doe that looked like Jim. We destroyed the buck and kept both doe kids, Pauline the short-eared one, and Paulette the Nubian-French Alpine. Pauline was so badly injured by some other goats when she was near two months old that we had to destroy her.
Paulette was bred to Christopher, a beautiful bright red Nubian-Murciana buck. The result was Redette, a bright red doe, that later became the mother of Gilda, a La Mancha. Gilda’s sire was Scamp, a grandson of Peggy. Gilda was one of the most beautiful La Manchas that I have ever owned. She died young from the overproduction of kids and milk.
When Peggy freshened the second time, she had three bucks sired by Jim. We kept one of them and named him Rascal. He and a purebred Toggenburg doe were later the parents of Scamp mentioned above. Peggy was a small doe. After her second freshening I kept an unofficial record of her milk production over quite a period of time. She produced 10 to 12 lbs. of milk per day with 14 lbs. on her high day.
When Peggy freshened the third time she gave birth to three red La Mancha bucks sired by Christopher. I made a great mistake in not keeping at least one of them. It was about 1940 that I purchased a young La Mancha doe from N. S. Goodridge. We called her Nesta and I have quite a few of her descendants in my herd today. Nesta was a wonderful little doe both in looks and milk production
|Rose and Toy|
The following is typed on the back of the photograph: “The doe on the right is Peggy’s mother. She was a Nubian-Alpine. We called her Rose. The other doe is Rose’s pal Toy. Toy was the mother of Wretha. Wretha was sired by Peggy’s son, Rascal. Rose lived to be 16 years old, then we put her to sleep. Toy also was Nubian-Alpine.”
Toy was bred to Rascal and produced Wretha, a La Mancha, that later produced Cookie, whose sire was a purebred Nubian. Cookie was bred to a purebred French Alpine and produced Wafer. Wafer was my first cou blane La Mancha. She was bred to Scamp and Polly and Jolly were their daughters. I have quite a number of descendants of Polly and Jolly. We lost Polly before La Manchas were a recognized breed. Fay’s Jolly L-2 is one of the American La Mancha foundation herd. After La Manchas were recognized as a breed, they were called American La Manchas.
A great deal of credit is due Thomas Draper for promoting the registration of American La Manchas.
M. A. Maxwell and Ted Johnston helped pick the foundation herd from my La Manchas.1
The AMGRA officials were responsible for setting up the American LaMancha Herd Book.
Polly was bred to Max, an unregistered Saanen that was the son of Hercules of Wasatch and Delta Cream Puff. Fay’s Pollyette L-63, and her three brothers were the result of this breeding. Fay’s Pollyette is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Soens.
After my La Mancha herd increased to several does and two to three bucks, I would breed La Mancha does to other breed bucks and the very best does of the other breeds and cross breeds were bred to the La Mancha bucks. Christopher played a great part in distributing Murciana blood throughout the La Manchas.
Crocus was another daughter of Wretha, and granddaughter of Toy. She and her descendants are rich in Murciana blood. Murcianas produce a fine-flavored milk, rich in butterfat.2
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Gordon were the owners of the registered Murciana whose blood runs through my herd of American La Manchas.3
Mrs. Eula Fay Frey and a team of American La Mancha wethers in an Oregon Centennial parade at Roseburg, Oregon, June 20, 1959.
A daughter of Rascal, who was also the granddaughter of Christopher, was bred to a purebred Swill alpine and produced a good line of American La Manchas, one of which was Mickey. Mickey was the mother of Fay’s Mickey, L-64. Fay’s Mickey, bred to Fay’s Ernie L-1, produced Fay’s Erna, L-76, and Fay’s Myrna L-77. Fay’s Myrna is now owned by Amos Nixon.
Scamp and a grade Saanen were the parents of another good strain of American La Manchas.
I have mentioned a few of the families that have descended from Peggy, but there are also quite a few other strains of American La Manchas that have branched off also.
In 1954 I kept quite a number of American La Mancha buck kids and after 1957 discontinued the use of other breeds and bred American La Manchas to American La Manchas. The first American La Manchas were registered in January, 1958.
In 1954, I purchased 36 head of American La Manchas from the late Ira D. Peel. He had obtained them at a sale. I culled this herd to just a few and kept only one of the seven bucks. There were some real good animals in this group.
I made it a point to always select the best purebreds and grades to breed into my American La Mancha herd. Many herd names are represented, some of which are mentioned here. Oakwood, Del-Norte, Chikaming, Wasatch, Delta, Rio Linda, Silver Pine, MacAlpine, Silvergate, Hurricane Acres, Decor’OChevonshire, and I am sure quite a few others not mentioned here.
To the breeders of these fine animals I owe a great deal. To them I am very grateful.
The goal that I aimed at in breeding American La Manchas was a breed that was able to produce 3-1/2 to six quarts of fine-flavored milk with 3.5% or more butterfat over a period of one to four years between freshenings. They should have the w-way wedge body, strong legs well-placed, udders well-attached, both front and back, good barrel, short sleek hair, any color or combination of colors, horned or hornless, and head the size of Toggenburgs.
A dream that American La Manchas would some day become a recognized and registered breed has come true.
Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Soens are the first to own registered La Manchas east of the Rocky Mountains, and are also the first to have them on test.
At the annual banquet of the American Milk Goat Record Association in Springfield, Illinois, October 15, 1960, the Mary L. Farley Award was given to Mrs. Eula Fay Frey in recognition of her years of work in developing the La Mancha breed.
Mrs. Frey died in 1968.
1 “Three herd names dominated the list of approximately 235 goats which were destined to become BASIC La Manchas. The Fay candidates were inspected and registered in 1958 with Midolane and Blue Diamond soon added to their prefixes to the herdbooks. Other breeders included R. W. Soens (Bomar), Then ANGRA Secretary, the late Hazel Pike (Lucky Leaf), and the late Ed Coulter (Coulter R).
The term BASIC refers to those short-eared goats which were inspected for type, and presumably quality, by a committee of experienced AMGRA members. Several of the first 225, or so, are progeny of other BASICs. Were they also inspected? For the purpose of this article, all numbers up to and including number 225 are considered BASIC.”
“The Short Ear Phenomenon,” Barbara Backus, Dairy Goat Journal, Jan. 1981
2 “The Murciana is a Spanish breed of dairy goat having been developed in the province of Murcia. This area is in the southeast of Spain along the Mediterranean. The ancient kingdom of Murcia was first settled by the Romans and reconquered by the Moors in the 13th Century. The Murciana goat is not earless. It carries its short ears almost horizontally, but the shape of its ear is like that of the Swiss breeds. This breed may have actually originated in Africa as some suspect.”
“As I see the American La Mancha,” S. Tachera, Dairy Goat Journal, Jan. 1975
3 The Murciana goat was clearly in the United States by 1920, as display advertisements in The Goat World of the period attest. In these ads, this breed was referred to as the “Royal Murciana,” although Dr. C. P. DeLangle, in his article “The Murcien Goat” printed in the August 1921 issue of The Goat World says, “The only Royalty attached to it, is in the fancy of its admirers, but, let it be said, that the true Murcien goat is one, if not, the handsomest goat known.” He also wrote of the Murcien: “It is a made-up breed like most all important goats.”
By 1936 the Murcianas must have been a bit scarce. Printed in the Murciana breed column of the January 1936 issue of the Dairy Goat Journal, was an offer to help reestablish the breed. The column indicated that “…at present, it is doubtful if there is a pure-bred buck of this breed in America. As far as is known Mrs. Katherine Kadel has the only purebred does.” It goes on to say that while Mrs. Kadel had tried to arrange for further importations from Spain, regulations made this prohibitive. “However, the Journal has scouted around and believes it has found a reliable source of supply in Mexico, from a herd of Murcianas (it also contains Granadas should anyone be interested), imported several years ago from Apain. Prices range from $30 to $100 each.”