Ready, Set, … Goat

So, what’s the guess?  How soon, and how many?  We’re hours (or maybe 2 days ) away from Kidding.  Geneva’s really huge, bigger than Genka. My guess is triplets.   Genka’s  due date is Thursday ,and looks like she might be first. Twins.   Check back for some pictures and videos. 

The supplies are in,  first aid, towels, a clean stall, a kidding pen, supplements ( does anyone have a french tube and a stripping cup we can use?)  , and hopefully everything else we need.  But we certainly have no experience, and frankly, I’m hoping Connie’s ready to go!  Sure, let’s assume they won’t need any help.   Our vet is on speed dial, and he knows we’re due anytime now. 

It’s gonna be Thursday.  Want to know the signs?  

So, what’s the big deal.  Natural for them right?  As farm animals, they have been bred over the years to have a co-dependent relationship with the farmer.  And for dairy goats, I think much more so.  Many/most dairy goats get separated from the kids very early.  The farmer and goat develop necessarily strong bonds as the farmer will be milking the goat and they need to bond.  Often the  kids get hand fed/raised by the farmer.  This close relationship allows for maximum milk production, and extends all the way back into the birthing process.

We’ve been in contact with an excellent cooperative extension agent, Tatiana who has suggested a hybrid type approach to raising the kids and milking.  What will be interesting to see, and what will determine our success, is the ability of our goats to allow us to milk them, after being exposed to the kids, and our willingness to stick to the plan.  Stay tuned.

Got Milk? or What does this hook up to anyways?

5 gal milker

The milking machine has arrived, and Genka and Geneva are eating their grain on the milking stand.  We’ve still got a few months to go.  Right now, they are eating about 2 cups of “sweet feed” each day.  That will increase some soon, and more after they “freshen”.  We’ve started to pick up a few kidding and milking supplies and will be giving some “booster shots” fairly soon.  Seems like everytime I read up, there’s more things to worry about.  We just watched a video that demonstrated de-horning and castration.  Still struggling with some of those ideas.. 

Seems like for small scale farming the farmer has to do everything themselves and  minimize costs.  All this work, and then realize the low prices that the  farmers get for their labor.   It does force large scale production.  For example, a farmer might sell a young goat to the meat market for less than $100.  How much effort goes into that?  Hay costs $4/bale!

We’ll be turning our attention to getting a hot water supply hooked up into the barn, ( a tankless water heater), and a small utility tub.  I tried to find a dairy to buy some goat milk this weekend.  Looks like it costs about $10/gallon.  I wonder how much the farmer sells it for, and how easy it is to fit out a barn/milk house and  get a license to sell milk.   ( Not going there).


How to milk a goat, or are we nuts?

How to milk a goat. It’s January 20th, 60 days from Nov 21, when our goat Genka got pregnant. 2 days later , her half sister Geneva got pregnant. So at 60 days, not milking, right? Well not so fast. We’ve lots to do to get ready. See, we have not done this before, and have no equipment or set up. About a month ago I started clearing out an area in the barn where we could milk. Certainly not the optimal location, since NYS requires a separate facility, drain, hot water, etc. But, I’ve been in a few barns that were really clean, especially compared to a dairy milking parlor. So, we’re going to milk in the middle of the barn, and I have built a milking stand. Got the diagrams from FIASCO farms, on the web. Easy to build, just followed the directions, and the cost was minimal. I used stuff around the barn. Most expensive item was the screws – Boy, are they! I’ve cleared the south wall, by the entrance and have some plans for that. But what I’m expecting soon is a milking machine. When will it be here? Check back. I have to pick it up at the post-office this weekend.