Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Milking a Cloud

Today was Cloud’s second official milking.  I normally let the kids have all of mom’s milk for the first five days, but Cloud only had one kid, and of course, she favors one side so the other side looked very full. 
Cloud wasn’t very friendly as I didn’t spend enough time with her last year.  So about two months ago, I started training her to eat on the milk stand.  For the first week, I just let her eat.  The second week I started petting her and getting her used to me sitting down next to her on the stand.  Then I gradually started touching her udder and massaging it.  She didn’t care for it much, but I persisted.
So milking went pretty well.  She did freak a bit when her doeling started bawling so I had to let the kid into the milk parlor to calm her down.  I emptied the un-favored side and was quite happy with how she milked.  Nice sized teats and a large orifice. 
I’ve been going back and forth on which types of goats to keep. 
Nettie is my purebred Saanen, and I love her to pieces; she’s going to stay here until she goes to the lush, green pastures in the sky. 
Ishtar is Nettie's daughter and is also a purebred Saanen.  She puts out a lot of milk like her mom, but her teats are nowhere as nice as Nettie’s.  She’s also larger than Nettie and I had considered having her bred to a Boer to get some meaty kids, but am still undecided on that.  Ishtar has also taken over herd queen status from Nettie and I’m not very happy about it.  Not only because I have a soft spot for Nettie and hate to see her lose her status, but because Ishtar rules with an Iron Fist........
Isthar giving me the Evil-Goat-Eye

......and as much as I understand that there has to be a goat pecking order, she is just really mean to everyone else in the herd.
Annette and Cloud are Nettie’s first Mini-Saanen kids (½ Saanen and ½ Nigerian Dwarf).  They are probably what I will continue to breed for, especially after seeing that both have very nice udders.  Both have nice attachments, teats that I can grasp with my entire hand, and even better, they both have a large teat orifice.   And that means faster milking! 
Feed prices are going higher and higher, so I don’t have much choice but to find homes for the rest of the herd.  That means finding homes for Nettie’s two doelings, Annette’s buckling and wether, Ishtar’s doeling and wether and even Cloud’s cute-as-a-button doeling.
That’s seven kids I have to get rid of.  Although I actually have a buyer for the buckling and two wethers, so I need to re-home three doelings and one wether.  I really thought I’d have a problem finding homes for the males, but it seems I have the opposite problem now.  Who would’a thunk it?
Unfortunately, I’ve been finding out that the goat market has taken a nose-dive around here.  I suppose it’s probably due to the fact that it’s spring and everyone has either lambs or kids for sale and the market is flooded.  I’d hate to just take them to the sale barn.  Not only do you not get squat from the sale, but you don’t really know where they are going.  It’s not that I’m totally against anyone buying the male goats for butchering, but if it’s at all possible I’d like them to go to a home where the females can become useful as a family milker or where the wether can be a pet.
If I get really desperate I suppose I could hold on to the doelings (ugh, I’m already talking myself out of having to sell them!), have them bred and then sell them as milkers next year….but then I’m back to having to buy more feed throughout the summer and winter, and then hope they sell next spring.  Because if they don’t, I’ll not only still have them, but their kids as well.  Oh boy.


  1. Oh boy, is right. It's a tough decision. And it seems the more time you have to think about it (or, rather "one" has), the more round-and-round one can go. I've talked myself out of and into keeping three lambs about six times so far. With more thinking to go. I guess it comes down to what really makes sense for you. But I agree that it's important to know where your kids/lambs are going. I would not sell mine at the local livestock barn.

  2. How much bigger (taller? heavier?) are your mini-Saanen's than the Nigerian Dwarfs?

    That is great that you have so many of the boys taken care of already, the does should be marketable especially for those curious how the mini-Saanen's milk.

    How much milk do you get from one of the mini's a day?

  3. The minis get taller than the Nigerians, they are about 3/4 the size of the Saanens. Although they are taller, they do seem to have more of a hay belly like the Nigerians.

    I get a quart & a half a day from the Mini-Saanens, but that's just milking once a day (kids are on during the day / locked up at night), but could probably get more if I fed them more grain. I try not to feed them too much grain, even though I know it would mean more milk.

    My standard sized Saanen gives me over a half-gallon a day, milking once a day.

    Not sure if the amount of milk I'm getting is great, good, or so-so, but I'm happy with the amount so far from both standard & mini.

  4. Good luck with your decision!

    Feed prices are ridiculous now and will probably stay that way because the farmers were hurt getting their corn in due to the rains.

    I am glad my cow can pretty much get by with just grass. We have plenty of that. Of course when she freshens in late July, the grass may be gone!
    We buy the feed in bulk so it is a hefty cost at one time.

  5. hi we just started a FB page called miini saanen/sable breeders network. u can advertise ur minis there. a lot of ppl are getting into mini saanens and are starting herds now.

    1. Thanks! I just requested to join the group on FB.