Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rethinking & Repurposing

The roosters are long gone.  Nettie is gone, but missed.  The Nigerian kids are gone, but not so much missed.

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 guess I've been spoiled by Nettie's ginormous udder.  I put Pyewacket on the FB goat sale page for $150 (which I thought was a steal for a first freshener, in milk nonetheless) and only got one bite....and she asked if she could have her for $100.  Uhm, no.  So I'm going to pull her off the page on Monday.  I'll breed her this fall to a Boer and sell her next Spring when the market is better.

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.


  1. It's amazing how much planning and thought happens when you get involved in livestock. I hope the goat market picks up - it seems, here, that there is a glut of Nigerian Dwarf goats for sale. Must be the newest 'trend'. I refuse to look at the pictures. I am weak...

  2. I know nothing about goats so I will just comment on the fact that you have developed a 'plan' that sounds very good. Good luck with following through. We need to purge our beef herd.

  3. Sounds like you've been doing some serious, important, rational thinking lately. (Did it hurt? Hahahaha!) Such is so vital to maintaining a viable, working homestead . . . and one's sanity! And yet, it's never easy to make those decisions whether they're for the good of the whole or not.

  4. Oh no, you have the "get rid of them" bug! I know that feeling well. It may start little, but it keeps growing and growing and growing. But, in the long run, you really do narrow down the things that you REALLY need. Good luck!

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  6. There is that old saying...When you buy their high when you sell their low. Happens to us all the time.