Friday, May 14, 2010
Yippee! We were able to start milking goats again this week! All of the sore mouth is officially cleared from both mommas and babies~ whew! Trent has been my faithful assistant/ goat wrestler and is becoming very good at milking goats. We have 5 does in milk right now, 3 of them first timers. Rather than being crazy like they were at the beginning of the milking season earlier this spring they actually were very pleasant and quiet to work with after their few weeks off. We have found that it works best for us to only milk in the morning. The moms are separated from their kids overnight, then we milk and return them to their babies for the day. Our milk production is not very high but I prefer to let the mommas raise their babies~ it makes everybody happy. The does usually even get a Sunday sabbath, and another bonus is that if I can't milk for some reason (work, vacation, etc.) I just leave them together at night and the babies take care of my morning milking. We have converted the old cow milking stanchions in the "nice" part of the barn into goat stanchions for the time-being. There are 2 chains which make cross ties to hold each doe along with hanging feeders for their grain. That is, unless some child needed my clips or feeders for some reason and forgot where they might have put them, which is the current situation. The does quickly learn how to come in and out to their spots for milking.
We measure our milk in ounces rather than pounds. Because we use our milk mostly for feeding calves at this point it is easier to record in ounces so we can feed it back. Our 2 older does had mastitis and udder damage when we purchased them, but the price was right and they are purebred Nubians therefor keepers. Dixie only has half of her udder functioning at this time and gives on average 25 ounces a day. Santana had only half of her udder functioning until this year when miraculously the bad side came back, not complete, but a very nice amount. She has averaged about 40 ounces per milking. We have 2 really nice first timers with amazing udders that will be staying in our herd. Susan is from a purebred Nubian line crossed with a Saanan. She has only been milked this week but gave about 30 ounces a day. Lucille is Dixie's daughter and also has an amazing first timer udder, she has been giving 40 ounces average as well. Posie will be one of our cull does later this summer as she has only averaged 10 ounces with a very teeny tiny udder. On average we have been getting about a gallon of milk a day. Now that the calves are weaned I am going to be stocking up my freezer for making soap then I have hopes of using milk for cooking and making cheese. It is nice to have these girls back to work earning their keep. I found I really have missed my mornings with them. One thing I am more than ready for, tho, is that goat barn to be built. Milking time is always exciting when the other goats are out and swarm the milking stalls! A nice secure barn and milking parlor~ just imagine~ goat proof and all.