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Author Topic: Breeding my GG & GGx  (Read 747 times)

New Riverside Farm

  • Joined Aug 2017
Breeding my GG & GGx
« on: August 17, 2018, 02:36:55 pm »
Hello,

I've been on here before about this but now trying to really settle into a plan (before it was sketchy research to get lay of land). So I've got 1 GG and 2 GGx. They are now in their 2nd year and in the autumn, in theory, ready to breed. I have my goats as pets primarily, I'd like to get some milk and milk products - since that could be fun and a great healthy hobby! Of course their kids would be super cute as well!

So I won't be a dairy provider other than for my own use but as I want to eventually have a cycle of them being able to produce milk, I may have to breed more than 1 this year so I don't preclude them from future years (if they kid in year 3+ being dangerous).

I wouldn't be able to keep all the kids - I do not have space for that many goats I'm afraid - so I'd have to sell some on. Preferably I am looking for other pet owners for these - rather than for slaughter.

I understand I need to get CAE testing for my goats to be bred so that they're kids would be healthy and safe. I called the vet today to enquire and they mentioned a scheme SRUC? I am not sure about this all.

As I mentioned I am not going to be a full-on breeder, it's more so that we can get the milk and maybe a kid or 2 we get attached to. So like with our border collie, we need to do health tests for her to be bred - but whether or not we need to join a full-on border collie society might be a very expensive breed qualification for a dog who is a border collie but came with no papers. Her pups would be fantastic for those who enjoy the breed, but wouldn't have been great for show dogs, etc. So just an expense for nothing.

I am trying to understand the lines of health risks, versus 'breeding qualifications' and therefore - maybe good if you're looking for top dollar, but maybe more than your very little smallholder can reasonably do. I'm looking on there about premises accreditation, MV/CAE/EAE testing, and just wondering why some are necessary and further more - if they are if you're purposes aren't quite the same as your larger breeders who sell on for shows, or large dairy farms. I'm probably not in that realm anyway...if you're a show goat person or large dairy farm, they probably have their regular supply lines.

Not saying all of it is unnecessary. I do know from last time that CAE is vital for breeding - so I get that. Just trying to know if all of it is, and if the 'scheme' is maybe on the adding an extra zest to what isn't really ever going to achieve nor grow into that level?

Also whilst I'm here...anyone know of any handsome GG lads in the West Yorkshire area who might be seeking 3 very lovely GG lasses for friendship and maybe more? They are stunning girls I must say! : )
« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 02:43:19 pm by New Riverside Farm »
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Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 03:13:53 pm »

You can just get your girls CAE tested without joining any kind of scheme. The SAC scheme is very limiting (and expensive), as you then would only be able to use males from herds with the same health status, and there are very, very,very few GG herds that are CAE accredited and have males.


The BGS runs a similar scheme, not quite as onerous as the SAC accreditation, but you need to be a member.


Most pedigree GG breeders will want to see a CAE certificate (it stay valid for 12 months) if accepting females for mating. So take your girls (need to be over 12 months old) to the vet (cheaper than a call-out) and s/he takes the blood samples and will send them off to SAC. Ask for prices beforehand, so you know how much it is going to be.


Are your GG's registered? Even with that you may struggle to sell male kids - either entire or castrated - so I would think very carefully about breeding lots and lots of goats. However goat meat is absolutely delicious, and a 1yo or thereabouts male GG wether will produce a decent carcass. Selling to a "pet" home (or indeed any other home) is always a risk wrt as to what is going to happen to them - both male and female offspring, and you will have to be able to let go of them at the point of sale…

New Riverside Farm

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 03:27:39 pm »
Hi Anke,

Thanks for the info. No the girls aren't registered. We wanted goats for enjoyment and didn't go the whole hog on looking for registered, etc. We wanted smallish, dairy, friendly, healthy - and within our budget! : )

As for the reason for sale - eventually - it wasn't to preclude anything, just saying in case selling them for a purpose might mean certain requirements beforehand. So if someone asked - well if you're going to sell them for meat, you'll need... I just don't know so I was only mentioning to say - the intention is pets, if that makes sense?

I've no intention on breeding lots and lots of goats. As I'd like to cycle them eventually - so that I can get a source of milk, I'd not imagine normally needing to breed more than 1 at any one time. And even then, I'll be over-run with milk (I think) for 18 months! But if I don't want to hit the same one each time, and give them a breather in-between - my 1st breed has to be all 3, otherwise I get into health risks if I let them go till next season which they;d be in their 3rd year. They only hit 1 year in April this year, so they are effectively right now, in their 2nd year. Next autumn, they'll be 2 and well into their 3rd year, and that could be risky for a 1st kidding?

So I think I've resigned myself - mostly - to a full load this year...or considering doing 2 early autumn and 1 later autumn/early spring.... But definitely do not want to breed a lot of kids - not wanting to do that for all kinds of reasons, not least of which, that you have to sell them, and I will never be able to use that much milk on my own!

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2018, 09:28:25 pm »
OK so I'm not going to try to influence you but I'll share my situation and perspective for information and you can do with it what you will. 

I have Bagots and chose to go down the SRUC accreditation scheme route because I believe in the long term health of my stock, anything I breed and the breed as a whole and wanted to ensure I was setting myself up for success rather than heartbreak.  I'm not commercial but I am doing some conservation breeding and therefore I've kept what I've bred to date.  I run males and females.  I tested for CAE and Johnes pre purchase and have tested for those plus EAE since.  I enforce biosecurity which means my stock doesn't come into direct contact with stock from another premises, including at shows (very few will accept accredited goats anyway).  I put their health ahead of showing and if I'm not happy with the show biosecurity, we don't unload, we come home.  The scheme is restrictive in order to protect the animals health and, subject to meeting the rules and remaining negative on results, testing moves from annual to triennial over time with only a proportion of stock tested (based on trip size).  If you want to check out those in the accreditation scheme for "availability" etc you can use this link and sort by breed.  http://www.psghs.co.uk  Not all those with accredited animals will "stud" their males due to the increased risk of biosecurity breakdown from incoming stock, even those with a similar status.

The British Goat Society has set up a competing scheme based on the same tests but with lower biosecurity.  Whilst it is cheaper initially, the whole trip gets tested annually in perpetuity.  You need to be a member of BGS to join that scheme and it's probably the dominant scheme amongst dairy goat keepers, particularly those who show.

Commercial dairies tend not to test, with many having "positive" stock on their premises and therefore those who sell to private keepers (for example downsizing or closing the dairy) can be a significant source of infection to keepers who fail to ask the right questions or perform the tests pre and post sale to ensure they're buying healthy stock.  I understand from others this has been a significant issue over the past couple of years as there's no requirement to disclose known issues with stock health on sale and many "new" keepers don't know what to ask in advance of buying stock.  Some of these animals come with excellent pedigrees and people think they're buying a bargain.

Schemes aside, if you're just looking for a test certificate for service, then your vet can do the bloods and send them away for testing which gives you the certificate you need (subject to negative result).


In terms of ages of breeding does.  My matriarch kidded successfully for the first time aged 5, with another of my girls having her first aged 8 (she went on to produce twins the following year and triplets the year after).  I don't have a full history for either of these goats so can't say if they were covered every year and aborted or if they were late being served but neither had problems with not kidding as a 3 year old.  I'm aware that others feel this is a problem, particularly in milkers but don't know how much breed influences that.  I, personally, wouldn't worry about running a goat an extra year before kidding if I felt it was the right thing for her/me.  If you do decide to breed them all, there's nothing to stop you staggering them so that you cover one early in the autumn (say August/September to kid January/February) and another at the tail end (say February/March to kid July August).  At least that way you're staggering the milk production by a few months.

I've inferred it's the kids you'll sell on rather than your originals, but another option would be to kid all three then sell one or two of them (the more difficult to milk or those with male kids at foot) and keep one or two with female kids with a view to kidding the kids once they mature.  You could try to run through the milking to give you longer production.

If you're looking to breed "pets" then work out what the market is in your area - polled, horned, disbudded; pygmies versus GG types etc.  You may find a pygmy cross will be more saleable as a pet than a GG type based purely on size... equally if you're looking at meat then you may want to cross with a boer to push the growth rate of the kid and give a bigger carcase.

Good luck, whatever you decide.


Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

New Riverside Farm

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2018, 02:15:13 pm »
Wow SD - thank you so much for all that info! I'm thinking I might not do the scheme - at least not this year. I am sure I have the option in future years to do so if I think it's really beneficial and maybe for now, just do the health checks. They don't travel to shows and aren't in contact with other livestock pretty much 365 (that will only change in the needing to breed them but I'd suspect that I can seek others who are also health checked?)

I definitely want to look at the long-term health checks of my girls - I do love them so! But the scheme seems a bit heavy for that purpose, if I can simply get them checked, if that makes sense?

Good to hear that I can stretch the mating out possibly - the dairy will just be fore personal use so I've been concerned that I am going to be a bit overrun and I really don't want to get into providing for others. I barely know the process so it will already be a steep learning curve, which is fine for me and mine, but could be well challenging if doing for others and ultimately, I don't really want that kind of thing. I sell eggs from the chickens. I love the animals 1st - the fact that they produce is, for me, just a great way of helping to support the hobby and I am not sure what to do with the surplus. Some of that's the same with the goats, in that the goats are the main attraction for me. Getting goat's milk and other products is just enjoyable, and healthy, addition of the hobby - but that's where I stop on that! : )

I was thinking of going the Pygmy cross path but was concerned that there could be a snobbery about it? That's sounds meaner than intended but just meaning that people may like their breed and the crosses dirty the line - unless it is to obtain a specific sort of thing, like guernsey and togg, smaller goats with better milk yield? Or something like that. I believe there is a Pygmy group in the area somewhere but barring that, how would I find 'my market' here? To know what people are looking for in the area? So that if I go the pygmy cross route or more guernsey? It was a consideration for me, as I know Pygmy goats are a top 'pet breed' plus as a 1st mating and kidding, may be easier on my girls as the kids would be smaller. I've read it is better to find a smaller male for 1st kidding.

Good idea with the possible other way to sell them, the adults and keep more female kids. I am not sure if we could do it though - we're really bonded to our girls. They have such character and we just love them so much. They want to get on our laps (as they used to when they were small, but now being bigger they don't understand why they don't fit so well anymore) and really they are SO beautiful. Each time I see them, I am still amazed - even after a year, how I just can't help falling for them. If we spend time in their enclosure, they want to be with us, into what we're doing, rubbing against us. I need a bigger space so I can keep their gorgeous kids too! : )

OK so I'm not going to try to influence you but I'll share my situation and perspective for information and you can do with it what you will. 

I have Bagots and chose to go down the SRUC accreditation scheme route because I believe in the long term health of my stock, anything I breed and the breed as a whole and wanted to ensure I was setting myself up for success rather than heartbreak.  I'm not commercial but I am doing some conservation breeding and therefore I've kept what I've bred to date.  I run males and females.  I tested for CAE and Johnes pre purchase and have tested for those plus EAE since.  I enforce biosecurity which means my stock doesn't come into direct contact with stock from another premises, including at shows (very few will accept accredited goats anyway).  I put their health ahead of showing and if I'm not happy with the show biosecurity, we don't unload, we come home.  The scheme is restrictive in order to protect the animals health and, subject to meeting the rules and remaining negative on results, testing moves from annual to triennial over time with only a proportion of stock tested (based on trip size).  If you want to check out those in the accreditation scheme for "availability" etc you can use this link and sort by breed.  http://www.psghs.co.uk  Not all those with accredited animals will "stud" their males due to the increased risk of biosecurity breakdown from incoming stock, even those with a similar status.

The British Goat Society has set up a competing scheme based on the same tests but with lower biosecurity.  Whilst it is cheaper initially, the whole trip gets tested annually in perpetuity.  You need to be a member of BGS to join that scheme and it's probably the dominant scheme amongst dairy goat keepers, particularly those who show.

Commercial dairies tend not to test, with many having "positive" stock on their premises and therefore those who sell to private keepers (for example downsizing or closing the dairy) can be a significant source of infection to keepers who fail to ask the right questions or perform the tests pre and post sale to ensure they're buying healthy stock.  I understand from others this has been a significant issue over the past couple of years as there's no requirement to disclose known issues with stock health on sale and many "new" keepers don't know what to ask in advance of buying stock.  Some of these animals come with excellent pedigrees and people think they're buying a bargain.

Schemes aside, if you're just looking for a test certificate for service, then your vet can do the bloods and send them away for testing which gives you the certificate you need (subject to negative result).


In terms of ages of breeding does.  My matriarch kidded successfully for the first time aged 5, with another of my girls having her first aged 8 (she went on to produce twins the following year and triplets the year after).  I don't have a full history for either of these goats so can't say if they were covered every year and aborted or if they were late being served but neither had problems with not kidding as a 3 year old.  I'm aware that others feel this is a problem, particularly in milkers but don't know how much breed influences that.  I, personally, wouldn't worry about running a goat an extra year before kidding if I felt it was the right thing for her/me.  If you do decide to breed them all, there's nothing to stop you staggering them so that you cover one early in the autumn (say August/September to kid January/February) and another at the tail end (say February/March to kid July August).  At least that way you're staggering the milk production by a few months.

I've inferred it's the kids you'll sell on rather than your originals, but another option would be to kid all three then sell one or two of them (the more difficult to milk or those with male kids at foot) and keep one or two with female kids with a view to kidding the kids once they mature.  You could try to run through the milking to give you longer production.

If you're looking to breed "pets" then work out what the market is in your area - polled, horned, disbudded; pygmies versus GG types etc.  You may find a pygmy cross will be more saleable as a pet than a GG type based purely on size... equally if you're looking at meat then you may want to cross with a boer to push the growth rate of the kid and give a bigger carcase.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2018, 08:32:20 pm »
Yes, I agree with you on the SRUC scheme - it’s not for everyone and you can always enter it or the BGS scheme at some point in the future if you choose to do so.  It’s well worth looking at the information on the SRUC website - not specifically for the scheme but there’s a lot of “health” information there related to the scheme that is good to know if that makes sense?

I also didn't mean to imply that those who are not on the scheme don't care for their animals welfare, I know that's not the case and many people are passionate about their animals whether they test or not!

In terms of what to do with excess milk - butter, cheese, soap are all possibilities; if you're raising the kids on their dams then there may not be much excess anyway.  If you have a decent freezer, you can also freeze it for the months when you don’t have milk or you can sell it "not for human consumption" to people raising calves, puppies, kittens and foals.  It’s almost impossible to set up a dairy to supply people these days - the red tape is too onerous so I’d rule that out unless you want to go commercial and have the money to set up properly.  Having said that, it’s easier “South of the border” than here in Scotland I believe.

You’ll find the same snobbery with goats as any other animal.  Given that you said yours are GG type and not registered - how bothered are you by their lack of “paperwork” - that’s what you’re translating in terms of whatever you breed that you’re selling on - and even if you use a registered male, you're not going to have registrable purebred kids if the girls don't have paperwork. 

There have been a few people looking for Nigerian Dwarf recently - for clarity there are 2 main “pygmy breeds”  (African pygmy and ND) but they were never kept separate in the UK and therefore everything is just a “pygmy”.  The ND was traditionally a milk breed, the AP was a meat goat. You may find someone without much space looking for a milker would consider the GGxPygmy - but then again maybe not.  There is still quite a high demand for pygmies with many of the breeders of registered stock having waiting lists.  However, I don’t know if those customers would look at cross breeds.  Maybe search preloved and the facebook pages (Goaty Friends, UK Goats of Interest etc)/other sites to see what’s showing and what prices are asked would help you.

Your local goat club would be a good source of information and help too.

There is a growing market for meat goats in the UK with many people using dairy crosses to breed them.

If you think you’ll be unable to sell your adults, what makes you think you’re going to be able to sell the kids, once you have witnessed the birth and bottle raised them?  It’s certainly something to consider before you start breeding!
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2018, 04:00:29 pm »
Actually I don't think the SRUC scheme is a bit heavy. The heaviest part was reading through it all and understanding what it is asking for. I didn't find it particularly easy to understand when I first came to it. After that, it is simply a question of good biosecurity and the occasional blood tests. So if you are going to get yours tested anyway you are half way there.
If you are not breeding to sell on as accredited then perhaps the main advantage is you are contributing to a database of knowledge as they are able to keep records of herds, herd numbers and disease outbreaks to advise on biosecurity for all of us.

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2018, 08:20:28 pm »
My only bone of contention with the scheme is that I've just had to tell friend he's lost his winter grazing in a year when I know everyone is desperate for fodder!  The recent change means I can't effectively continue to use paddocks that are exclusively used for hay and winter let to non-accredited stock because of the new cull testing requirements if I do.  This is despite the fact that these parts of the holding are more than double the distance required to segregate accredited and non-accredited stock and will never be used by my livestock because they're on the wrong side of the road for the "facilities".  Exactly the same risk is posed by these fields as the ones next to them that belong to a neighbour but because it's a different holding number ...

I suspect this latest rule change is going to result in another exodus from the scheme!  I won't be one of them but I know a few people with both commercial and pedigree animals on the same holdings or goats and sheep under different health status that this will hit and the commercials are unlikely to put their "hobby" first!
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2018, 10:31:23 pm »
I've mated goats for the first time in their fourth year with no problems.

New Riverside Farm

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2018, 10:56:56 am »
SC - I'll definitely check out groups in the area. I would love - myself anyway - to go the pygmy route. I think they'd make lovely crosses but know I may not be the target audience, just saying that they'd be a great combo of dairy and pint-sized!

I know the cute kid factor, and the bonding, is going to be a challenge! I know I'd like to get some dairy from my girls and have a great hobby of learning butter, cheese, yoghurt, etc. So if that's so, I've got to consider kidding them. I'm not sure there's a way to get milk without it! : )  Maybe we need to move somewhere where land is a little more plentiful and cost effective!

But it may be more helpful if we don't have to do all in one go - at the very least, it will be staged a little in that the questions of kids and where they go only has to be done in small measures and staggered.

Just out of curiosity - and bearing in mind I'm not going the route of accreditation - what ways do some of you go about finding good homes for your kids? Obviously the CPH is something which precludes (or at least discourages) the 'faint of heart' from taking a pet animal on and becoming fickle afterwards. Taking that step generally means someone's dedicated to getting this animal at least enough to be sure they have the land, and go through the appropriate process. But I'm sure even in there, you'll get some people who you may get the yucky feeling of not sure I want to sell to this person? I'm sure any breeder - dogs, cats, birds, etc - comes across interested buyers who you think this isn't right. I'd like ideally for them to go to good homes - at least to the degree that I can - so are there better places to sell, or tips?

Oh and when we got our girls, the seller put ear tags on them for movement and to record where they were coming from and go to. Where would we get those?

Yes, I agree with you on the SRUC scheme - it’s not for everyone and you can always enter it or the BGS scheme at some point in the future if you choose to do so.  It’s well worth looking at the information on the SRUC website - not specifically for the scheme but there’s a lot of “health” information there related to the scheme that is good to know if that makes sense?

I also didn't mean to imply that those who are not on the scheme don't care for their animals welfare, I know that's not the case and many people are passionate about their animals whether they test or not!

In terms of what to do with excess milk - butter, cheese, soap are all possibilities; if you're raising the kids on their dams then there may not be much excess anyway.  If you have a decent freezer, you can also freeze it for the months when you don’t have milk or you can sell it "not for human consumption" to people raising calves, puppies, kittens and foals.  It’s almost impossible to set up a dairy to supply people these days - the red tape is too onerous so I’d rule that out unless you want to go commercial and have the money to set up properly.  Having said that, it’s easier “South of the border” than here in Scotland I believe.

You’ll find the same snobbery with goats as any other animal.  Given that you said yours are GG type and not registered - how bothered are you by their lack of “paperwork” - that’s what you’re translating in terms of whatever you breed that you’re selling on - and even if you use a registered male, you're not going to have registrable purebred kids if the girls don't have paperwork. 

There have been a few people looking for Nigerian Dwarf recently - for clarity there are 2 main “pygmy breeds”  (African pygmy and ND) but they were never kept separate in the UK and therefore everything is just a “pygmy”.  The ND was traditionally a milk breed, the AP was a meat goat. You may find someone without much space looking for a milker would consider the GGxPygmy - but then again maybe not.  There is still quite a high demand for pygmies with many of the breeders of registered stock having waiting lists.  However, I don’t know if those customers would look at cross breeds.  Maybe search preloved and the facebook pages (Goaty Friends, UK Goats of Interest etc)/other sites to see what’s showing and what prices are asked would help you.

Your local goat club would be a good source of information and help too.

There is a growing market for meat goats in the UK with many people using dairy crosses to breed them.

If you think you’ll be unable to sell your adults, what makes you think you’re going to be able to sell the kids, once you have witnessed the birth and bottle raised them?  It’s certainly something to consider before you start breeding!

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Breeding my GG & GGx
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2018, 12:20:13 am »
The pygmy cross is sometimes referred to as a "handbag goat" by at least one breeder I know of... mainly where the cross was unanticipated pygmy male to boer female... results in pretty miniatures that sell to pet homes.  I also think a GGxPygmy may be a nice mix, but I'm not a buyer so my opinion is irrelevant.

If you get very high yielding bloodlines, it's possible to get a maiden milker which doesn't need to be bred to come into milk (the flush of grass in spring does it).  There are even some males that produce milk, although it's rare and tends to be from exceptionally high yielding milk lines.  You could also consider buying a goat that has kidded and is in milk and see if you can milk her through and continue for a while without breeding again.

Goat clubs are often points of contact with owners sharing information and pointing to others they know with animals for sale; there are a couple of Facebook groups - Goats of Interest UK and Pedigree Goats of Interest (I think it's called, I don't recall) which share information.  Goaty Friends doesn't allow adverts for sale but often has wanted posts.  Others sell through the market (for example Melton Mowbray rare breed show and sale at the beginning of September - other rare breed sales often have goats too and some sheep sales will have goats listed) or preloved.

Don't place too much reliance on the CPH - anyone can get one and you don't require land... hence pot bellied pigs/goats being kept on housing estates.    Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, if they can be given the comforts, stimulation and diet they need.  At the end of the day, it's your choice who you sell to.  If you get a bad feeling about someone, decline to sell to them.  You can't guarantee what will happen to your animals once they're sold.  Even if you find a perfect home for them things can go wrong, circumstances change, they can be sold on etc.  You can try to write a "buy back" clause into a sales contract but it may not be easy to enforce it.

It's a legal requirement to tag the animals - within 6 months if housed overnight and 9 months (from memory) if they're not housed; or when they leave the holding of birth if earlier.  Single tags for slaughter and double tags for breeding.  In addition to your CPH number, you need to register for a herd/flock number and this is the basis of tagging for anything you breed.  You can find out more on the link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sheep-and-goat-keepers-register-your-holding-and-flock-or-herd  If you Google or search on this website, you should also find things like the tagging rules, movement notification rules and transportation rules (which don't apply if you're keeping them exclusively as pets with no commercial aspect to them.
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

 

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