Saturday, May 21, 2011

Milking Goats

We started a diligent milking schedule last Sunday.  We're currently getting about 2.5 quarts/day between the two goats. Rosie is my superstar and I think will prove to be a fantastic milker in the near future. She runs to the parlor, hops onto the stand and waits for the grain. 

The once a day milking is working out fabulously.  We don't have to bottle feed, and we only have to worry about milking/cleaning in the morning.  Fias Co Farm offers a fabulous account on their milking schedule and it has proven to be quite helpful for the full-time lawyer.

We're using the Henry Milker for all the milking.  Rosie's teats are big but she's not terribly comfortable letting the milk down so hand milking is difficult. Clover's teats are tiny and she's incredibly fidgety.  Also, the closed system of the Henry Milker is great and we haven't have a single incident of contaminated milk.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tough Day for a Goat Farmer

Goat farming is usually quite fun, peaceful and exciting.  However, disbudding day is not any of those things.  It's horrific, nerve-wracking and slightly unsettling. Yesterday, the littlest members of the herd were ready for this painful procedure.  They had little buds the size of peas and at 13 days old they were ready. Although I watched the experience closely last week when the vet disbudded the older kids, I was still filled with dread and nervousness. However, I also learned from that first experience that if you do not do the deed correctly the first time the re-burn is even more horrific and stressful for the goat (and handler).  The vet didn't leave the iron on long enough so Daisy and Basil were still growing little (though not quite little ) horns. 

I plugged the iron in and then got the first goat ready to be shaved.  Sage is incredibly sweet and didn't protest the handling or the sound of the trimmer.  She happily sat in my husband's arms.  Then we moved on to the iron.  As my husband held her and I attempted the first burn she squirmed and screamed and protested violently.  Husband decided that he wasn't cut out for this type of work so instead he handed the goat over, took the dogs for a walk and left my mother and I to finish up. 

We disbudding Sage then Lola and finally I re-burned Daisy. 

The day was rather stressful but nonetheless necessary.  My technique was simple. Apply the iron for 2 second intervals until you see the copper ring. I sure hope everything is successful because I do NOT want horned goats and I do NOT want to do this again this year.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Goat Milk

Even though we've had little goat babies on the ranch for 2 weeks now, we haven't actually milked anyone yet.  Of course, this also means we haven't tasted anything yet.  Well, not until today.  Rosie was swollen on one side of her udder so my mom milked her out.  I strained the milk and put it in the freezer. Then, I tasted it.  It was absolutely amazing. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Goat Babies Encore!

Rosie kidded last night and gave us another two female goats.  Unfortunately she was very early (145 days), we were unprepared and we didn't follow the advice and traditional wisdom of baby mammals. All the above resulted in a very long and stressful night and a goat mother that has rejected one kid. However, both kids know how to nurse and when Rosie is tethered she allows both to drink freely.