homesteading

Sharing With The Goats

Last year I ran into a dilemma about raising our goat kids and milking their mothers. The girls had birthed nine kids there was realistically no way I could feed so many babies and milk the five does. Not when there were so many start up projects already going on around here. So was a girl to do?
I talked to friends and acquaintances. I also spent a good amount of time scouring the internet looking for a viable solution.
In the meantime I did try bottle feeding a set of twins who had been on mom for a couple weeks. That did not go over well at all. The kids refused the bottles, they fussed and fought so much that I stopped. I went back to letting them nurse.
It didn’t seem worth the fight or the hassle. I was also worried about their wellbeing. At that time I felt so discouraged. I was not sure what I was going to do about the situation.
I thought perhaps it would be best if I left the kids with their moms. Then after the kids were sold or weened then maybe at that time I could milk them.
On the other hand I needed to milk these goats. I wanted the milk for drinking and to make cheese, ice cream and yogurt. Yet I knew the kids needed it as well.
Well I took a risk and locked daisy’s twins away from her for the night. The next morning I milked her before I let the kids back out in the herd with her. She was not happy with me, but she did provide me with quite a large amount of milk.
Believe it or not that first milking I had gotten almost 2 quarts and she still had a lot of milk left to feed the babies. Ok I was on to something here.
 I continued to lock them away each night. Then during the day they were allowed to run with their mommy in the herd. When it came time to ween, I sold off all my bucklings. I had no use for keeping them at that point.
Daisy gave me a buck and a doe so when her buckling was sold she had more than enough milk to share. In fact she had so much milk in her day and night that I let her daughter Mocha run with her full time from that point on.
Even with her feeding Mocha whenever she wanted, I was getting darn near a gallon a day.
I had started milking her day and night. I was worried that with such a surplus of milk that she might come down with Mastitis.
I found that whole situation quite interesting.  There was a lot of experimenting and fumbles last year as Daisy and I came to some sort of understanding.
In the end the situation that worked best for us is was in the morning I would milk out one side fully. Then in the evening I would empty the other side. Usually I would have to milk the morning side out some too. Mocha had one side she preferred drinking from. There came a time when I decided that Mocha was plenty old enough, and I milked both sides fully day and night.
This year I am still waiting for Daisy to drop, and out of the three that have kidded, only 2 are in milk and I have a couple weeks before they come to the stand. It is my hope that what I learned last year will work for me this year with all of them. It would make life so much easier.
Cheerio and Happy Homesteading
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