We dried off our two does, Genka and Geneva in late August just before school started. Sure, it was pretty easy and fun getting up at 6 every morning, and milking at 6 every night. No big deal, except when you are out doing something and have to get home, or want to sleep in and have to get up, or want to go someplace like a cottage in Canada, EVERY day 2X per day. But the milk kept flowing, one gallon a day, every day, and we made cheese every other day. Oh yes, I forgot , we have jobs. Jobs that actually pay the bills. Can’t make money solely off of goat milk at this scale.
So, we dried off the girls, without event, a lot of noise though, but it worked out well. Thank you to Connie for working out the schedule. Right now, we’ve decided to take a break and not breed for next spring. We’ll breed next fall but eventually we will have to figure out what to do with the surplus of goats. As of now we’ve got 7 goats, eating hay that’s gone up in price due to the drought. We’ve stocked up multiple times, at the suggestion of the local farmers, and the final amount should be enough for the winter. Our goats often don’t even go out to pasture during the winter. A little rain as well? Forget it, the barn is nice and cozy and they give me food. We cut back on their feed to force them out which ended up giving Daisey ( one of the triplets) goat polio. Most likley due to the switch in diet. So, now we feed them pretty much when they want to eat. When it’s sunny, they go out in the pasture and feed.
Goat Polio? Connie and I are off to a reunion dinner one night, and just before heading out I check on the girls (the goats I mean). Daisey is walking funny and is stiff in her back legs. Within about 1/2 to 1 hour, she can’t walk, goes blind, and has some serious convulsions. Yes, I’ve said some prayers for her, and fortunately given her a shot of B Complex vitamins just in case it’s polio. But what do I know. My Goats for Dummies manual doesn’t quite give me all the answers. Goat Polio happens when a goat’s rumen ( one of their 4 stomachs) get’s out of balance and stops breaking down cellulose. They go into vitamin B deficiency and that impacts their nervous system. Our vet was at a conference, and we didn’t have time to do anything else. It turned out to be the right thing to do. After a few hours, she was back up, strutting and prancing around. After more 3 days of treatments, she was okay.
Now we’re enjoying taking walks with our herd. I’m dreaming about the life as an artisan goat cheese maker, with a barn full of nubians and a cheese house, and Connie’s dreaming about me getting something else done around the place that doesn’t involve being out in the barn.
Ah, the good life.