Tag Archives: Goat Milk

The New Flower!

It really does take a village.  At least for this idiot it takes a village…

It’s normally a challenge for me to get anywhere on time, and as soon as I saw the goat yard last Friday the 27th I knew I was going to be late to work.  Normally when there is a light mist coming down everyone waits till they are really hungry to venture out of the loafing shed.  Until about two weeks ago, when I started dragging them out to pasture during the days.  The winter yard still had green grass, but they were more than keeping up with it’s growth, and we have other places where the grass is almost knee deep.  Also, I wanted to rest the winter yard as much as I could, for several non-obvious reasons.

So around the corner of the shed I came and looked inside.  There was Elouise, our newest Nubian with a little bably.  I don’t have much of a birth story, as the baby was mostly dry, and Elli was passing the afterbirth as I peeked in.  Literally, just as I was getting my eyes adjusted to slightly dimmer interior.  Good morning, did you have a healthy breakfast?  I talked to Elli for a minuite, and the baby was stumbling around like a drunken sailor.  I called farmer J on the phone…  “morning hon”  “what’s wrong?” “nothing, I just wondered if you would like to come out and meet our newest goat?.  Hello?  Are you there?” it was early enough that she didn’t quite have the hard drive spooled up and it was a funny second or two, before she allowed how she might just wonder out and meet her.  I had no idea that you could tuck a night gown into pants and pull on boots that fast.  Probably cause I’m a guy.

I had picked up the baby by the time farmer J came out, and the baby still had no idea who momma was, or what to do to take care of this hungry thing she had going on.  She was dry though, so I had to think that she might have had a little from momma.  We vacillated on our ‘dairy plan’ which had been to pull the babies, and milk Elli 2x a day.  But there was only one baby (we found out that for the last 5 years she’s thrown triplets).  We finally decided to follow through on our plan, as we wanted as friendly a baby as we could get.  We have a friend who breeds pygoras and bottle feeds the babies, and her goats are so sweet!!!  I milked Elli off (the milk/colostrum was like thin yogurt!!) and baby took about 11 oz.

I helped set up a bedding area for the baby, in the loafing shed where she had goat company, and a heat lamp, and rushed off for work.  Farmer J fed 8oz about 6 hours later, and then when I got home I tryed to milk again.  It had gone so well that morning, she had walked right up on the stanchen.  She hadn’t kicked.  She had been plesent.  Not now.  Have you ever tryed to pull a fire hydrant up a flight of stairs?  I have.  And I won, barely.  And it shamed me.  And I called out to my village.  “help, I’m an idiot, I thought I knew what I was doing, but this is the first time this has happened, please tell me I am at least doing one tiny thing right, cause I know I’m doing the rest wrong”.

And the village was kind.  Our friend Holly, who we have leaned on for Pygora information was quick with some tips on baby care, and suggested we get the baby ‘out of sight, smell and hearing’.  Done, in our barn/pantry/canned food storage area.  She’s protected from the weather, behind the locked door, with a window wide open for fresh air, and a heat lamp at night (cause she is alone).  We are feeding four times a day, and started with 8oz a feeding, and have moved up to 12 following the bottle feeding schedule on www.fiascofarm.com.  Daisy gets to come out and play two or three other times a day in addition to the feeding, and has decided that farmer J is her momma.  We are hoping we can put her back with the herd in another three weeks or so.

Elli had a change of heart as well.  After e-mailing with Emily at http://wildrootshomestead.blogspot.com/ we rigged some hobbles, and I started spending some non-milking time with Elli.  This morning she waked right up onto the stanchion all by herself.  Two days ago I had to pick her up and set her on it, she had kicked the milk bucket four times, the last time putting her foot in the middle of the bucket and then pulling it back, dumping about a quart of milk all over the stanchion.  I could have just about eaten her for dinner.

Although in the future we will probably leave the kids on the momma (ala Molly Nolte) and milk once a day, for now we are glad we went this rout this year.  We are only getting about half a gallon a day (4#) milking two times a day, which the folks we got her from said sounded right for her, given that she only had one kid.  They have a yearling who threw triplets, and they are getting a gallon a milking off of her (ouch!)

So after all that, here is Daisy.  Staying with the flower theme (sort of) we now have the alphabet covered from A to E, and the next goat born here will be a flower or plant starting with F…  That should be interesting.

Here she is in her personal private box stall, and in the (gasp) house for some rainy weather play time!

   

She gets no kisses, hugs or cuddles.  Ok.  Just a few.

  

I told her last night, that God willing she will live with us all her life.  Feed our family and be showered with love.  That we would care for her, and watch out for her well being, not because of what she represents for our family, but because she is simply trusted to us, for her care and nurturing.

(As a side note, I have bottle fed Daisy more in three days than both of my children combined.  After 11:30pm, 5:30 am comes early.)

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Goat milk….

So this really is just another part of the dream coming true.  One of our primary goals in living on, managing and having a farm is to be able to provide the safest, most wholesome, humanly treated, lovingly cared for food we possibly can for our family.  Yes.  We take it seriously.  Well, except for apologizing to each and every carrot we pull out of the ground.  Everything from the economics of getting a chicken from ‘fuzzy’ to freezer, in feed cost and time commitment, to the value we place on knowing how they were treated…

Some of the animals on the farm are more pet the livestock.  Really, until a month ago, the goats fit that bill.  Fiber is fun, but neither Farmer ‘J’ or I knit with any diligence.  Enter Ariosa.  We are ‘borrowing’ her at the moment, and she will return home by the end of July (for fair season).  She is a fiber goat, not a dairy breed, but she does well despite this ‘flaw’.  Our biggest hang up with transitioning from a ‘work for money, buy food’ to ‘spend time, harvest food’ has been the impact on our schedule.  We both grew up in ‘the White Ghetto’, and the flexibility to run here, and there, and back over there again is deeply engrained in our subconscious.  Dairy animals have a way of impacting that.  Even if you leave the kids on mom for a few months, you still have to be there, once a day, at the same time, to milk.  It’s kind of like having another job.  We weren’t sure how well it would work for us, and after several weeks, the novelty has worn off, and really, it’s cool.  We all like the milk (even the baby, who will tell you “No” if you ask her, but at the moment she can only say “No”, unless it’s candy).  We have made some yummy yogurt, and once we’ve gotten back up to a gallon in ‘reserve’ we will run a batch of feta and see how that comes out.

We are only getting a shy half gallon a day, and could use more, but we’ve heard of dairy goats giving up to a gallon per milking..  So we’ll just see what comes.  Next up is saving the $ for a good bottle raised dairy goat.  We’ll get her freshened in the fall and be counting the days till next spring…

Oh, and as far as the raw milk (gasp!) thing goes, read up on it if you want to pick a fight.  I still think what we bring in from the goat yard is safer than the half gallon of organic milk we buy from the store.  I know what the goat is eating, how she’s feeling, how the milk was handled, and soooo much more.  In my mind, pasteurization is a band aid for a lack of trust and faith in our food system (probably well placed).

So here it is.  One half gallon half gone, another one behind, and the morning quart chilling in an ice bath.

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