I'm kind of embracing this purging of the livestock. And I've been thinking about the fates of some of the other goats.
Annette is a great mother. She puts out a lot of milk & loves her kids. But unfortunately, for whatever reason we have yet to determine, her milk has always been off-tasting. I've checked for everything; mastitis, worms, strange feed, etc. And what really drives me bonkers, and what no one seems to know the reasoning for, is that I cannot for the life of me get her milk to set a decent curd. I've ruined batch after batch after batch of cheese before I finally started separating the different goat's milk and testing which batch was the problem. It was Annette's.
So with me in "Purge Mode" lately, I was thinking about taking Annette to the sale barn. And then I felt guilty. No doubt, this feeling of guilt is what ruins the bottom line of countless farms. So if I couldn't (yet) bring myself to truck her off to the sale barn, what was I going to do with her? I could breed her to a dairy buck and hope her kids don't have the same genetic predisposition to having off-flavored milk, but that's a gamble I don't want to take. But what if I didn't want her or her offspring to provide us with milk? She's a heavy milker and fattens up her kids just fine and apparently the kids aren't as picky about the taste of the milk as we are. So if she can't provide us with milk, then she can provide us with meat.
I've decided to have her bred to one of our Boer bucks this Fall. She'll be able to fatten up her half-
Boer kids on all that milk and we'll either butcher the kids for our freezer, or if they're up to snuff, keep the females for breeding stock. Problem solved!
Then I got to thinking about the other dairy gals. And how much milk we really use / need. Right now I'm only milking MamaGoat and that is plenty for us. I no longer bother selling the milk. It did help pay for the goat feed / hay, but it was a bother having people come down here to pick up their milk. That, and Paul kept tossing caltrops into the driveway to discourage people from coming here (he was never really keen on the customer relations aspect of selling goat milk).
So I think that I'll be breeding all the does - Boers AND dairy - to the Boer bucks this year. I'll still get milk from MamaGoat for our use and her kid will end up in the freezer after s/he's fattened up. Same with Annette and Pyewacket's kid(s). That is, if we even still have Pyewacket for breeding season.
She was supposed to be a family milker, but I'm not very impressed with her udder. I mean, I guess it looks nice for a first freshener, but it's just, well, "eh".
|Pyewacket, August of 2015|
I suppose I have to get over trying to breed a great milker from our own motley crew of a herd and just bite the bullet and get a purebred Saanen when we need another main milker. It will probably end up costing us less in the long run, as well as less time and aggravation.