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.