Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's mine, all MINE!!

In the span of just one week, we sold all three goat kids.  One of Annette's doelings went to a friend down the road (where she was quickly adopted by the resident mare) and yesterday we sold the last two goat kids.  Nettie's wether kid went to a farm as a pet (they kept Boer goats and the little girl wanted a non-eating goat) and Annette's second doeling went to the same folks who took Pan off our hands.  

So now we have ALL of the milk to ourselves!

I'm a bit unorthodox when it comes to our milk goats.  Oh, I started the milking routine "by the book" the first two years, but then as circumstances changed and I got to understand my little milking herd better, I changed things around a bit.  

When the does first kid, I let the family stay together 24/7 for a week.  I'll only milk out the mom if she's too full or to get a bit of colostrum in the freezer.  After a week, I put the kid(s) in the kidding pen overnight so I get all the milk first thing in the morning.  After I milk the doe, I let the kids out and they stay together until the evening.  The kids effectively take care of the second evening milking for me. 

When the kids are weaned or sold, I'll have to do two milkings to make up for the kids.  I'll do two milkings a day for about a week, gradually lessening the amount I take in the morning or evening, so I can then go back to milking only once a day.  

Because I milk only once a day, technically I'm only getting half of what I would get if I milked twice a day.  If I really pushed her, I could get a gallon & a half of milk out of Nettie every day.  But honestly, I'm lazy.  I don't like having to milk twice a day.   And we really don't need all that milk.  I don't see why I should keep shoveling grain (cha-ching!) down a goat's maw just to keep her milk production in high gear. 

This year, I yet again changed things a bit.  Instead of locking up the kids at night, I let them have access to their dams almost the entire day.  The only times the kids couldn't get to their mom's udder was when I tied the adult goats out to graze.  But even those few hours of "alone" time was enough for me to get milk for us in the fridge.  Granted, I was lucky to get a half-gallon a day, but it was fine by me.  And I swear all that extra milk made those kids grow bigger and faster.

I'm wanting to have Nettie bred to a standard sized milk breed buck this fall because I'm hoping to have a replacement for Nettie.  Not that Nettie's ready for retirement yet (and I don't mean "the freezer" when I say retirement.....she's earned her golden years here when they come).  And since there's no guarantee that she'll pop out a doeling next spring, I figured I may as well get started.  And when she does kid with a female, I'm going to do the same thing I did this year with the milking schedule; I'll let that doeling have all of Nettie's milk for at least twelve weeks in order to take advantage of all that nutritional goodness. 

But for now, I'm back to the twice-a-day milking schedule.  But I'll be back to the "Lazy Milkmaid" program in no time at all.


  1. Good for you being creative!

  2. If it works for you and your goats, why the heck not?! When we had our goats we always milked twice a day and I guess just never thought (creatively?) about it. But now I read about folks who have even cows on a once a day schedule. Good golly, Miss Molly, milking once a day (with any dairy animal) sure would be less restrictive to the milker's schedule! I mean, I could go hang out in bars from late afternoon until midnight or so and not have to worry about getting home to milk!

  3. Nancy, I can't take credit for it as I think I read about somebody else doing it and then the little light bulb in my head went off.

    Mama Pea, Well, actually, that IS why I prefer milking only once a day! And speaking of, I've got to mosey my way down to the local watering hole! Farm living can drive anyone to drink :)

  4. This sounds a lot like what I would want to do once we get a dairy goat! :)

  5. I've been doing the same thing (except waiting 2 weeks for the 1st once a day milking) but recently I wondered if there was a way I could milk other than first thing in the morning. You've hit on it! I too have figured out that we don't need absolutely every drop of milk our goats produce. We only need enough for what we need. I can say that because I still have a dozen cheeses left from last year's milk, LOL

  6. That sounds like something I'd do, I always think I'd like to have dairy goats but then fear too much milk! Nice problem to have though as far as problems go LOL!

  7. That's my schedule too, only I leave the kids on maaa 24/7 for two weeks. I LOVE the freedom of OAD milking! I only breed and milk one goat at a time and still have waaay more milk than the two of us can use. My doe freshened last March, I milked her all through the winter, and I'm still getting almost 3 quarts a day!!

  8. Ngo Family, when I finally figured that I didn't have to milk twice a day, I was thrilled! You WILL have to provide a lengthy blog post when you get your goats, you know that, right? :)

    Leigh, we still have several pounds of cheese in the freezer too! But I suppose that's a good problem to have, hugh?

    Erin, YOU'RE worried about what to do with all the milk? What about those little men you got running around the house???

    Candy C., I actually may be milking twice a day for a little longer than I anticipated as a friend just requested a weekly milk delivery! But it is nice to know that I don't HAVE to do it twice a day. I still haven't milked Nettie (my high-volume gal) through the winter, maybe once I get another doe out of her I'll try it.

  9. This is a very interesting post...I am planning on once a day milking while the does have kids on them, but I never thought of doing it after that. Having such little goats, I probably need the milk from twice a day milking, but this sure is something to think about. Thanks for sharing!