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.