Monday, March 7, 2011

Ladies in Waiting...



The doe in the foreground is "Suzie." She is a yearling. The doe in the background is "Abby." she is about 5 years old.



And here is "Gracie" who is my best milker. She is a year older than Abby. When freshened, she starts out giving about 15 pounds of milk a day! (A gallon is approximately 8 pounds.)

All three are expecting kids in May. We will be drying up the two that are milking very soon, and then I'll have to rely on the milk that I have frozen, canned, and the cheeses I've made for a couple of months.

Spring is coming! Babies of all sorts will make their entrance. It's a very exciting time of year here on our little homestead.

9 comments:

  1. Love it! We are in the process of finding both meat goats and milk goats. It's still cold here but, hopefully, it will soon thaw out.

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  2. Your little ladies are so beautiful! I dream of having goats someday, so for now, I'll live vicariously through you and yours. :) And 2 gallons of milk a day from one goat? Wow! No wonder you have some cheese stored up!

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  3. I would love to know more about getting started with goats. I am hoping to buy a goat this year and was wondering could you tell me how big of a fenced area do you need? Any other info would be wonderful as well.

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  4. Hi Renee! I will tell you some of the things I know about goats.
    1. Goats are herd animals. They need a companion. It does not have to be another goat. It can be a sheep or a horse, but they will not do well alone.
    2. The initial cost of your milk goat will soon be far outstripped by costs of food and everything else, so get the best goat you can possibly afford because there is little point in pouring feed into a goat that gives very little milk or that is not healthy.
    3. Goats are very hardy. They do not need fancy facilities, but do have to be able to get out of the wind and the rain. And you will need a convenient and comfortable place to put your milking stand.
    4. As to how much room they need, I have mine in about a 40 x 50 foot pen, and there are three of them. The bigger area the better. Mine are fenced with cattle panels. Goats sometimes are escape artists, so you need good fencing. Years ago we used electric fence, and that it the most economical, but takes some know-how.
    5. Please get a copy of this book:http://www.amazon.com/Storeys-Guide-Raising-Dairy-Goats/dp/1603425802/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299974112&sr=1-5 It will be money well spent.
    6. There is not ONE right way to do things, so if your library has other books, read those too.
    7. We currently have American Alpines and love their milk. Nubians have milk that is higher in butterfat.
    8. Sanitation in milk handling is very important. Not so much for safety, as for taste!

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  5. Thanks for all the wonderful info! I was wondering if you would mild tell me about how much feed costs per month for your goats? Thanks!

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  6. Renee, I went and looked it up in our goat file folder. We use baled hay, Calf Manna, Alfalfa pellets (because our hay is kind of pathetic) and a mixed goat feed from our feed mill. This is how it broke down for the year:

    Baled hay - 50 bales, $150
    Calf Manna - $43.47
    Alfalfa pellets - $120.59
    Goat feed - $422.08

    So, that is approximately a grand total of: $736.14.

    This was to feed my two milkers and raise a yearling, and also feed the buck that we rent for about 2 months in the winter (he eats quite a bit.)

    Then you need to give them free choice of baking soda, and a mixed loose mineral, but that cost is minimal.

    For this money I probably got about 4,423 pounds of milk, which works out to about $1.36 per gallon. I traded a lot for fresh eggs and fresh vegetables and berries from some friends. I made lots of cheese - plenty for us and to give as gifts. We have milk "running out of our ears" most of the time. You will also need a few other items - milk filter disks, a stainless milk strainer and some nice glass jars and lids. Here is what I use:

    http://www.hoeggergoatsupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=3593&cat=17&page=1

    http://www.hoeggergoatsupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=3339&cat=17&page=1

    http://www.hoeggergoatsupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=3597&cat=0&page=1

    I hope you will be able to get started with goats soon, and that you really enjoy it. I know when I first got them, many years ago, it was so exciting, then after a while it got kind of tiresome, but I persisted, and before long, milking goats got to be about like brushing my teeth. It's something I do without giving it that much thought. I guess I grew up. ;)

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  7. Hi! Just thought I would share that we did get two goats, one is 7 weeks old and the second is about three months. We will also be picking up a doe in milk after her kids are weaned sometime in July. I am very excited to have our on milk, but nervous too. Can I ask what you use the calf manna for? Thanks for all the information!

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  8. Rennee, that is wonderful news! The Calf Manna is just a supplement for them. I believe they are healthier since we have given them a little of that every day. Of course you feel nervous. I remember the first time with goats. It was so exciting, and then I got to where I kind of was "over it," but persisted, and now it's not much more trouble than brushing my teeth. Just something we do. :)

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