Friday, December 4, 2009

Cold Snap

The weather here has taken a turn for the colder. Our last milking was pretty cold. We use Bag Balm on the goats teats to stop them from getting chapped. During out morning milking, the Bag Balm was almost frozen solid, it took some scrapping to get enough to use. So, we took it home with us so it would be warm for the evening and that worked out pretty well. I'm sure the goats appreciated it being warm and easily spreadable instead of the frozen mass we were using in the morning.

Is everyone else doing something similar or just making do with it nearly frozen?

We are still keeping the Billy Goat separated during the evening time and I'm hoping that it doesn't die of the cold. The others all huddle together but he doesn't have anyone to huddle up to. I'd hate to have yet another goat, that isn't ours, die while in our keeping.

I do think the Billy Goat has done his job. All the goats seem to be getting fatter and fatter, and that isn't from the amount of hay we are giving them. The only questionable one is the injured one. She is moving around pretty well but we're not sure if she was stable enough during the time the Billy Goat was interested in her or not. He has lost all interest in them now.

We are planning on tapering off the milking and letting them dry up beginning at Christmas. Hopefully that will take about 2 weeks so when Winters Burden is fully upon us we won't have to deal with the milkings anymore. We'll just have to keep them fed which seems like much less of a hassle than milking them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New American Gothic

Our milking this week went without incident although we've made a new observation. The Billy Goat is tired and losing interest in the women! He no longer runs over to the corral where we keep them, I had to put the collar on him and drag him over. At the end of the day, he was plenty ready to go back to his own pen. I guess that those Nanny's are getting old hat after a month or two, he is ready for something new. Maybe that are starting to make "Honey Do" lists for him...Whatever the reason there isn't that excitement anymore.

We are getting snow now and it is starting to cool down enough to stick to the ground. That means more and more mud until it really gets cold and starts to freeze. We've had some big rubber goat milking boots for awhile now, but a while back we got some coveralls. Helps keep all the goat off of us. I really like them and recommend that everyone get a pair. I no longer feel so contaminated after I get home from milking the goats. I got a picture that reminds me of the American Gothic painting that everyone has seen. I feel about as happy as those olden day farmers appear to.

One thing about that I've started to do when I'm milking is that I no longer need to close the gate between the milking area and the feeding area. When the goats are done milking and I let them off the stand, they jump down and go over to eat. I can then let 2 more in to milk them. I used to close the separator gate to keep the goats that are done milking from coming back into the milking area. I don't have to do that anymore, the will sometimes come to the line and look in, but I just have to give them a steely gaze and they don't dare cross into the milking area. Once in a while I'll have to kick one if they get daring, but it has worked pretty well and eliminated having to keep opening and closing the gate. We went to the movies the other night and I saw a preview for "The Men Who Stare at Goats". I'm going to have to go see it to see if I can get any tips for staring them down.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another use for Goat Milk.

A while back Diane was at a family auction, no not a place to pick up new family members for cheap, but where each family member brought something to auction off to raise money for family activities. She got a bar of goat milk soap that one of her distant relatives had made. The person was quite secretive about it and wouldn't divulge much information, but apparently she makes a tidy sum of money from it.

This got me to thinking, that with some of our group complaining/whining/bellyaching about the taste of the milk and instead of just drinking it, pouring it down the drain, or giving it to chickens, this would be a great use for that milk and earn them some extra money. Doing a quick search brings lots of links but not much of it was straight forward so here are some links that should tie it together for those that want to try.

All soap is made using a lye/water solution, since we have the surplus goat milk, it needs to be a lye/milk solution. This link describes how to go about that How to make goat milk/lye solution. That seems to be the only difference in using milk as opposed to water so once you have that, you can proceed with the other steps. Here is a easy recipe for the beginners Soap recipies. Once you have got that down this sites seems to have some good additional information, plus many more links to resources Soap making site. To get real fancy you could make your own soap molds.

I suppose that once you have whipped up some lovely goat milk soap (which goes for over $5 a bar) you can run over to Oh! Sweet Sadie and sell it at their shin-digs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bum Leg

Here is a picture of the injury that is still plaguing our goat. She can't seem to bend her leg past that angle yet, but even this much is better than it was before. As she keeps moving on it, it will continue to limber up.

The other thing this goat is trying to recover, is her dignity. All the other goats, but the white one in particular, are pushing her around all the time. She tries to eat with the rest and they will butt her away. She will hobble over to another spot and the white goat will follow her just to keep her from eating. She doesn't quite have the mobility to be knocking heads with them like she used to. I've also noticed that one of the little brown goats seems to have it in for her. I've seen that little brown one come flying across the pen and crash right into the injured goat to keep it from eating. I think that it is getting it's revenge for when the injured goat was healthy and kept knocking the little goats around. The other day I did see this injured goat start the fighting, she got knocked over, but it looks like she is starting to feel good enough to begin mixing it up again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On the Mend

After the ravaging that happened to the herd a while back, the one goat that was seriously hurt is on the mend. She still has a leg that she is limping on but she has rejoined the herd and redefining her place in it. Being solo while she healed left an opening in the hierarchy and the little goats were quick to usurp it. Now that she is back and still not 100%, she is relegated to the bottom of the pack. I think when(if?) her leg fully heals she'll spend some time butting the little goats around and take her spot back, but until she has the stability of 4 good legs, she'll be stuck in the lowest spot.

We've decided to let the goats start drying up towards the end of December and hope to have them deliver in March. That puts the worst months of the winter out of the milking cycle so we don't have to deal with the cold and the snow as much. The billy goat is still with us but he seems exhausted. He no longer immediately gets to work when he joins the other goats during the day, he goes and eats first to build up his strength. Those demanding women are really wearing him out! The only questionable one is the injured goat. I'm not sure if her leg has been able to support those rough and tumble encounters, but she does seem willing. Only time will tell.

The milk production has been down, but stable, right around 30 lbs or so. This is almost a full gallon less then what we seemed to peak at during the summer months. Our sales pool has seemed to fallen as well. We've lost 1 person and the remaining have been cutting back somewhat. Ah well, we didn't really get in this to make money, just trying to save some.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Double Tragedy!!!

A Double Tragedy struck this past week here in our little group!

The first part of this tragedy is that Tuesday evening when one of the members was milking, they found that someone, or something, had killed one of our goats. They were getting set up to milk and found that one of the goats was missing. Not thinking much of it, they began milking. When it was the turn of one of the goats, it wouldn't get up, examining it she found that the goat was injured. Looking at the other goats she found that several more of them were showing marks of being attacked also. Looking around the area more carefully, she found the mangled body of a goat laying where it had apparently fought valiantly to defend itself from it's attacker. She immediately summoned some of the more animal savvy of our group to help care for the brave but injured goats that remained.

The second part of the tragedy is that the goat that was killed wasn't even part of our commune. One of our neighbors had a goat that they needed to get pregnant so they could milk her again. Since we have this billy goat on loan, they made arrangements to keep their goat with ours. The new goat had only been there for a day or two when this disaster struck! Mournful are they who lost their goat.

Our initial thoughts were that this was a Chupracabra, a fearsome creature if there ever was one! Luckily someone close to the farm came over and admitted that it was her dog. Whew! I don't know what we would have done to discourage a Chupracabra from returning. Animal Control came over and shot the dog spoke with the neighbor about the dog and their responsibility. Hopefully this will not occur again.

The real question that the people want to have answered is: Where was the Billy Goat during this time? We all know that a Billy Goat Gruff can handle a Troll, so a dog should be easy. Was he not Gruff enough? Was he scared of the intruder? Was he too busy doing the job we have him there to do that he didn't notice? Or was he in collusion with the intruder?

While most of the goats had some trauma from the attack, a few days in therapy has made them right as rain. The one goat that was injured seems to be doing better and is listed in stable condition. We are hoping that there will not be any complications.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Billy Goat Gruff

Someone in our goat group somehow found out about someone that needed to store their billy goat someplace for a while. Coincidentally, we need a billy goat because it is time to get our goats pregnant. Amazing how things work out sometimes isn't it?

One thing I don't think anyone realized, I certainly didn't, was how unpleasantly fragrant goats in heat can be. Unfortunately, the billy goat is even worse. Together, they really stink the place up. To help keep this as minimally as possible, we are keeping the billy goat away from the nannys during the night and letting them be together during the daytime. We want to keep them out of the milking barn as much as possible so it doesn't make an already unpleasant situation worse.

I'm not sure how anyone else is handling this, but when I milk in the morning, I do the milking as normal, letting the nannys eat as normal. But when I'm done, I kick(sometimes literally) them out of the milking barn, lock it up and take a bunch of feed over to the sleeping barn. I then get the billy goat out of his holding pen and let him loose on the unsuspecting, but always affable, nannys. For the evening milking, I put the billy back in his holding pen, dump some feed for him there so he can eat as he wants during the evening. I then proceed to milk as normal.

I'm not sure how long until we know if all the goats are pregnant but I'll let Trent worry about those details. He and Mike seem to be the brains behind this operation. I do know that the taste of the milk has not improved at all since the billy goats arrival. I'm not sure how much more it can deteriorate until my minions start an uprising over it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bad day at the Farm.

The last few weeks, we've seen a drop in milk production. It has been pretty consistent across the board for all of us milking. We're not sure what is causing it. They seem to be eating plenty, we have a new field opened up for them to graze in. They don't eat too much of the hay we lay out for them. So I don't think it is a lack of food. They do love to gobble up the grain that we give them while milking, but according to one of the books that the others have been reading, we are giving them about the right amount of that. It is a mystery...

Our last milking didn't go very well. The goats were acting up like crazy. They were antsy the whole time and kept trying to break out of the milking stands. The big old goat was struggling something fierce, causing the whole thing to shake, we might have to put some supporting cross braces on it if this behavior keeps up. Anyway, one of my minions was running the gate between the feed area and the milking area. He wasn't doing the best job of keep them in the feed area once they got down from the milk stands. They kept sneaking back hoping for some more grain.

I'm fine with the goats when they are behaving, but once they start acting up, I lose all patience with them. One of them jumped back up on the milk stand and stuck it's head in the grain bin. I grabbed it's collar and started to pull it out. I've noticed that they don't liked to be pulled back, doesn't matter the situation, but as soon as I pull on them, they start fighting against me. So this time, already a little annoyed by the other goats, I wasn't putting up with it. I grabbed it by the collar and threw it off the stand. I didn't know it, but Diane was right behind me. She was bending over to do something and all of a sudden a flying goat slammed into her side and they all went down in a tumble of arms, legs, hooves and hair. Needless to say, now SHE was annoyed by everything as well.

Just a bit later, my minion was again having trouble with the gate and the goats. Diane went over to help out. The goats picked that time to all make a run for the opening, which is where she was standing. Spitting out hay and dust, she slowly got back to her feet from being trampled by the stampede of wild goats....

It was a bad day at the farm.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't Fence me In

Now that the routine for milking the goats is pretty much....well routine, I've been looking around our farm area a bit, checking things out to see what's there and if it is something that will make our life easier. The other day I noticed this gate (it isn't like I didn't know it was there before and would think "this fence could really use a gate." ) but really noticed it.

Like a lot of barn areas, there is a lot of hodge-podge stuff around so this gate fits in with the general randomness of how things are. Opening and closing it isn't very easy as the gate is slightly wider than the one post that it latches to, so you kinda have to slam it shut.

Upon closer inspection I realized the posts to this thing are made out railroad rails! Rails are anywhere from 39-60 feet long, so unless they dug a really big hole, they have cut this thing off, but what kind of animals did they keep in this place that they needed something as strong as railway rails to make the posts out of? Locomotives weigh over 150 tons, the size of the pig that would require fences that strong, would keep us in bacon for a lifetime!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Open Fields

Last week we got a bit of a setback in our grazing area. We were going to have 2 large additional fields to graze the goats in. We heard from the owner that we would be able to graze them in the new fields when the grass was tall. One morning we opened the gate and let the goats in. They seemed to love it, they were running and jumping around like crazy. That afternoon we spoke with the owners son(the owner is on an extended leave) and he said that the goats shouldn't be in the big fields as they are going to graze horses in them instead. The cuts the goat grazing by 2/3, with it being the better 2/3 that is going to the horses now. We can let them graze in the original area we had them in(which has been significantly expanded with new fence lines) so that is good, but not as good as we originally had thought it would be. So, we have been opening up the new area in the day time and closing them back into the corral during the evenings. I'm not sure that we need to do that and I'm not sure if that will have an impact on milk production or not. We'll have to let it go for a few days and see how the milk numbers come out.

It has been very hot(in the upper 90's) the past week or two. I thought that might have some affect on how much milk the goats produce, but I haven't seen any trends to show that. Some days have been low, but then others have been very high. Have to keep tracking it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Final Stretch

Ok, we just finished our last day of milking on this marathon milking session (3 days in a row). I can't say it has been a joy, but it has made me realize that there is no way I could be a dairyman. The time commitment is more than I could handle. My Dad worked at a diary for a time when I was growing up and this makes me appreciate his efforts for us even more than I did before. Hats off to all those who work in a dairy, I certainly appreciate all the milk you've worked morning and nights, weekends and holidays, with never a break, so that I could drink it up.

This mornings milking was the worst..."What? Time to milk again? We just got done milking those goats!" At least I didn't dream about doing it...although, those aliens I was blasting with my BFG 9000 last night did look kinda of goaty....

One the bright side, we did get the most milk tonight than we(meaning me, I'll have to check the milk log against everyone else) have ever gotten before: 38.8lbs!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We have the next few days of milking due to vacations and other scheduling so we'll see how my allergies stand up to the constant assault, but I'm hoping it goes OK. We are pretty efficient and this morning went fast so if I we can sneak in and out before those allergens know we are there so much the better.

Some of these goats have always been more of a bully than others but it is usually been to see who gets to be milked first. This morning they were keeping this one goat from eating after all the milking was done. I think this goat tried to get in between all the other goats in order to eat. I only caught the last few attempts on the camera. It finally got its spot but even then the goat on the end kept leaning it's body into it to keep it from reaching the hay.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Biggest day so far

Well we are finally getting on track, I think the biggest difference was the bad hay that we were using because the milk production is going up. Since Janina put in the scale and we have been keeping track we have gone up pretty good, we started out at about 34. 4 pounds and our best so far was this morning at 38.6 which ended up being just over 2 gallons and 1 quart. This weight of course includes the complete milker, the other difference is that I am adding the strip milk in which actually makes a big difference, bigger than I would have thought anyway. When I first weighed it this morning it came up to 37.2 then I remembered to add in the strip milk and it raised it almost 1 and a half pounds so remember that when weighing. I think that we should be up to 2 and a half gallons pretty soon. That hay makes a big difference.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life is good in the Barn.

Just did our first milking in the new barn. While the old setup worked pretty well, this is so much nicer. No more hunching over so I don't get a nail in the scalp or break a lightbulb with my head.

The only thing the old had that the new is missing is the double gates. But with the goats learning the routine, I don't see that as too much of a problem.

Twice this morning I forgot to put grain in the feed buckets before letting the next pair of goats in. As soon as they saw the bucket empty they jumped off the stands and started wandering all around and it took a few minutes to get them back up on the stands. I must remember to put the grain in each time BEFORE letting the goats in to milk. I found that if they don't jump up on the stands by themselves, if I grab their collar and lead them to the back of the stand, they would jump up by themselves. I had to do this a couple times with each goat before they realized what I was expecting them to do. I stand by the side of the goat stand so they can't sidle around and only put their front legs up in order to reach the grain. Since the stands are now raised up higher, and they don't really have a way to get around to the front, if they want the grain, they have to jump up. Most of them were pretty good about jumping up, but when I forgot the grain and they got back down, they didn't go up so nicely the second time.

Last night Lisa dropped off the bucket and most of the hoses were disconnected. I didn't think much of it until this morning when I was rinsing it out and realized that disconnecting all the milk hoses makes cleaning it so much easier. I don't know why I didn't do that before. But more to the point, Lisa, once you realized it, why didn't you let the rest of us know? So now when cleaning, we just disconnect the milk hoses from the lid and wash the lid. Then when we start cleaning the hoses (which are the real hassle) we don't worry about getting the blue pulsator all wet. We've left the air hoses still connected, but being able to put the lid off to the side while doing the hoses is much easier. Maybe tonight I'll try removing the air hoses as well. Not sure how much of a hassle that will be putting them on and off.

With all the space in the barn, I'm all for setting up a cleaning system right there. If we get some bucket heaters, we can start the water warming when we start milking and by the time the goats are done, it should be hot enough to clean the bucket. The first time I cleaned the bucket I did it that way; put a bunch of hot water in a bucket and let it suck through the hoses. It went through a 2 gallon bucket in seconds. We can run a cleaning cycle a few times and then rinse it the same way. Seems to me that it will make it much easier. It will also relieve us from having to drop the bucket off to the next person each time. Not that doing that is a problem, but it would be another step we could eliminate in all this. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Better set location

We are able to start milking in and using the barn, this is a much better setup, also if you need a big bunch of dried manure for your gardens or whatever else let me know we have access to a bunch of it, it is actually straw/manure compost. We also have alfalfa hay in the barn and this should be much better than what we had been using before, I believe that is why the production dropped off so much just bad grass hay. Now when we milk we just need to use one silver can scoop of grain per goat per milking and we will adjust it later if we need to. I don't see any post besides Marc and Diane, come on people you need to post your experiences even (and especially for the rest of us) if they are not the best most special positive experiences. I know how much Marc likes to spend time playing with the goats while he is milking, I am kinda surprised you want to get done so fast, I mean you like to run and chase them and then hug them, that's what it looks like anyway.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Setting a Record

This morning we got all done in about 45 minutes. That is a new record for us! I'm not too sure if we'll be able to drop that time very much, things went pretty smoothly. One thing that did help was that the goats are learning to get up on the stands all the way by themselves. I only had to lift up 1 of them today. The last two we did ran in, jumped up, and stuck their heads in to start eating. It was almost like they were synchronized swimmers. I'm hoping that all of them will be able to do that soon. They are almost there.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting the Rhythm

This morning we did another milking. This machine makes it so much easier and faster. From door to door it was just under 1 hour and with a few more turns at it, I'm sure we'll cut off another 10-15 minutes.

One thing we've learned is to put the grain in the buckets before we let the goats in. When they come in they immediately go to the buckets to eat, if they are empty, they start wandering around looking for something to eat. Grabbing them and getting them back to the stands takes some time, especially the Big Goat.

Lets talk about that Big Goat (more accurately, I'll type and you read). Most of our goats are yearlings, but the Big Goat is 3 years old. She is quite a bit larger than the others and she is a cantankerous ol' cuss. She is the only one that seems to kick. The others will raise their legs and dance around but the Big Goat seems to actually try to kick. I think she got Trent upside the head the other day when we were doing the machine 'show-n-tell'. She kept trying to kick off the milkers this morning, and when I was hand milking the last bit, she kicked the bucket out of my hand. I only lost a few squirts, but it is irritating nonetheless.

We are also starting to get all the little things that are making life more convenient: Trent and his minions built us 2 goat stands(you can notice the one in the pictures), we have a stand for the pump and milker, the feeding buckets...Now that we are settling in we are noticing things that will help us out, not necessary, but nice to have things.

We have several other families we are going to give milk to. They will pay some of the feed costs and we will give them milk. If this works out well enough, we'll get 1 or 2 more goats and see if we can get to the point that the only cost we incur is time and labor.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time for the Machine!

With 6 milking goats and most of us being novice milkers, it was finally time to break out the machine. I don't know what brand, model, or serial number it has, but it works very well. Trent and I (as well as 2 of his minions) gave it a go last night. It was amazingly fast! Probably less than 5 minutes per goat. Since we can get 2 at once, that will drop milking time down to about 20 minutes once we get the system down. It took us a while longer last night because of trying to figure out the best/fastest/easiest way to get this done and it will probably take a few more times to hit on the best way, but it is substantially more pleasant than hand milking.

Although the milking itself is a huge improvement, the cleanup time has gone up. However, I'd much rather have more time on the cleanup than on the milking. The sooner I can get away from the goats and hay, the better for my allergies. Once we get a better system of cleaning down, that will go much faster as well. All in all, this is going to make our turn of milking much much nicer, save for the fact of having to get up earlier to get it done!

The Milking bucket is pretty cool, in an octopussy, squidy, Cthulhu type of way, tubes and tentacles, and unknown appendages of all types springing from everywhere. I felt like Captain Nemo for a bit. But once we got it all straightened out, it works smooth as butter. It doesn't quite get all the milk out, you need to do a bit of hand milking to empty the udders, but not much. We're guessing it is only a cup or two at the most. Next time we'll bring a small bucket to catch all that extra so we can get a more accurate measure, but I don't believe it will be very much. Even without getting those few extra squirts, we got just shy of 2 gallons so we are right close to where we were expecting.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Here is Mike getting mauled. I think we are finally getting adjusted and the goats are feeling more at home. The first night of milking was the most difficult, everything was new and the new goats were trying to figure out what had just happened to them, but for the most part this was an easier transition than the last new additions had been at least as far as the goats getting use to each other, the first milking session, well I only wish that upon those that wouldn't let me have seconds in the school lunch line.

Hello everyone, here are a few updated pictures. And EVERYONE, please put your experiences, thoughts, feelings and comments here. I know of a few stories that I'm sure a lot of other people would really benefit from hearing, so please make it a habit of posting. If anyone has any questions please ask, maybe you are interested in getting a group started yourself, we have learned a lot and can probably save you some time and headache, just ask, thanks.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More & More & More Goats

We are now up to 6 milking goats. The group picked up 3 more so now we have 7 goats. Now let's see how is going to be the Alpha Doe. The 3 new goats are Nubians and Trent went all the way to Idaho to get them. He got a really good price as he was able to get 3 goats for the same price as 1 of the first original goats, Kendra/Lilly. We are going to have to come up with names for all of the goats now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Settling In

We've had quite a bit of rain in the last few days so things are pretty wet with the Goats. The area where they are being kept has a nice shelter for the goats to get out of the weather, it also has an area that we can milk with the milkers keeping out of the weather as well. All in all a pretty good setup.

With the new goats we got recently, it seems as if the the pecking order still hasn't been decided. One of the brown goats and the white goat that is milking seem to be butting heads(literally and figuratively) constantly. When we show up to milk those two are going at it to see who will be the first on the stand. I have also noticed that while they are fighting, the other brown goat often sneaks to the front of the line. That has happened twice that I've seen so far. When the bossy brown goat notices this, she leaves the white goat and tries to get in, but by that time I've usually got the gate shut to the milking area and started the makes me chuckle. After I've finished the first goat, the other brown goat is waiting and ready to go, it isn't going to miss it's chance again!

I have noticed that the other white goat that isn't milking yet, seems to be low rung on the totem pole. She gets pushed out of the way all the time by the other goats. But either she has accepted her role or doesn't mind. I kinda feel sorry for it, it will stand by the gate and watch the other goats getting milked and eating their grain (we give them grain while milking). Since it never gets milked it never gets any, but I try to give it a handful every now and then. Today she didn't want any at all. Not sure what that means, but we'll see if she doesn't want any tonight either.

We are regularly getting 1 gallon of milk from the 3 goats with the white goat giving 1/2 gallon by herself. We haven't noticed any taste differences, but we are mixing the milk during the milking and not keeping them separate, that would be way more hassle.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Increasing the Herd

We got quite a surprise this morning when we showed up to milk. There were 2 more goats there!

We now have 4 goats. These 2 white ones are Saanen(had to look up that spelling) and are supposed to produce lots of milk.

Only 1 of the new goats is producing right now, but she is producing as much as the 2 others are combined. She seems to produce a much bigger stream of milk also, bigger holes in the teats or something I suppose.

Our original 2 I believe are Nubian or more properly, Anglo-Nubian, according to this site.

So this morning we got right around 1 gallon of milk. We haven't tasted it yet to see if we notice a difference in the taste or not, but since it is all mixed, I'm not sure if we would be able to tell a difference or not. We might have to keep the milk separate one time to notice a difference.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Full Milking

So last Thursday we did our first full milking. It was a little slow but no real problems. The old granny goat did step in the bucket twice so I was all for throwing it out, but my wife says that if it doesn't kill us it'll make us stronger. She handles the filtering of the milk so I'll put my life into her hands on that one. Or more appropriately, I'll put my kids life into her hands....

I've milked cows when I was younger so it isn't totally new to me, but it will take a bit to get used to it again. Probably by that time we'll start with the machine...which is fine with me. No matter how good I get with my hands, I'll not be able to compete with a machine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goat Setup

We currently have 2 goats. They recently had kids so we have a few baby goats running around. I believe that there are 2 females, 2 males, and 1 ex-male (unlike a steer, I'm not sure what you call a castrated goat). We have a good setup for housing them, it has shelter, easily accessible water, and plenty of open land for grazing. We supplement their diet with hay and grain, but so far, most of it has come from eating whatever is growing in the fields.

We are planning on getting 2-4 more goats to go into full milk production so that each family involved can get enough milk to last them a week.

We do have a milking machine, but haven't bothered to break it out since it is faster to milk by hand just the 2 goats than it would be to use and clean the milker. Once we get the other goats, that'll change.

I haven't milked the goats yet, but the others say we are getting about 1/2 gallon right now. That should go up as things stabilize and settle down.

Goat Commune

We are part of a local group that has decided that we want to try something that will be more healthy for us and our families. We will detail the experiences of buying, handling, and milking goats.