Thursday, June 24, 2010

Educating the massess

I recently made a batch of goat cheese (you can find the recipe here) and everyone that tried it--friends, family co-workers--asked the same question, "Is it from your goats?"

Pardon my frankness but, "Of course it isn't!"

My doe kids are 3 months old, so no, they're not milking at the moment. It seems absurd that highly educated people (including other lawyers) cannot grasp the basic anatomy and life cycle of other mammals. Do women produce milk without giving birth? Honestly, my goat kids aren't even old enough to be bred, let alone old enough to have given birth already.

So, for everyone out there who is woefully uneducated about goats this is for you:

Life Cycle of a Dairy Goat 101:
When goats are born they're called "kids";
Female goats are called "does" and male goats are called "bucks" if they are not castrated and "wethers" if they are;
Goats can be bred at around 8 months of age or when they reach 75lbs;
The gestation period is 150 days;
After kidding (giving birth to baby goats) a doe will produce milk;
Does will continually go into heat for the rest of their lives and if continually bred will live until 11-12 years.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


You've got to have a pretty thick skin to wean a goat. Honestly. They cry whenever you leave them anyway, can you imagine what it is like when you leave them and you haven't given them a bottle of yummy milk? It's awful. Truly awful. It pulls at your heartstrings.

Luckily, my girls have had many different culinary experiences in the last month, including daily doses of alfalfa. They would suck down the milk and then run over to the trough where the hay was placed. They also were given tastes of nectarines, peaches, dates, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, grapes and strawberries. So, overall, their weaning experience is relatively painless. They know that they're going to eat something and this something is usually incredibly delicious. However, this does not mean that the girls are making me feel any better about it. Both Rosie and Clover are continuing to make me second guess the decision to pull the bottle away at 3 months. They cry and bleat and scream for minutes and constantly circle around me looking for the elusive bottles.

Since before Francis arrived he was weaned. I think this is why he always seems to laugh and smile to himself when the girls are desperately trying to uncover the non-existent bottles. He knows what this is like. He's been there. He's relishing in their discontent.Soon they too will get over it. But, until then they're going to cry and scream and bleat.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And then they're gone....

When my little Francis arrived at the ranch he was already "banded." (A procedure wherein a very tiny rubber band is placed around the top of the scrotum which continually restricts the blood flow from body to testicles). He walked around like this for weeks and I constantly checked between his legs to see the progress of this intriguing and somewhat disturbing process. Little by the little the testicles shrunk and hardened as they dried up from lack of blood. Little by little the tiny band pulled the skin connecting the sack to the body until one day...they fell off.

So, now I have a wether.