A little champagne in your coffee?

I bought a new goat to replace Dawn.  Wally and I had gone out to look at a dairy last Sunday.  The woman was milking 21 goats a day by hand.  She must be a bit nuts!  We had talked on the phone several times and there was a LaMancha named Emma that I was most interested in.  By the time we got out there, however, Emma was sold.  There was one young LaMancha left, but in looking at her bag, I didn’t think I’d be interested.  There were also several Saanens and one Nubian.  I asked the woman which of the goats she’d categorize as the best milker and she said the Nubian.  I really don’t care much for Nubians, but that’s only because of their floppy ears.  I don’t like floppy ears on a goat.  Quite frankly, I don’t like the gopher ears on the LaManchas either, but that’s the breed I ended up with and they’ve kind of grown on me.

When we were out there last Sunday, she had already milked most of the goats who were for sale so we arranged to go back out there on Friday to see the remaining goats in milk and for me to milk them myself.  This woman has not been the easiest person to get on the phone.  In fact, she’s downright impossible to get on the phone.  I wonder why given she’s milking 21 goats by hand twice a day.  She did call Friday morning and we went out.  I milked all of the Saanens and didn’t care for any of them.  The young LaMancha surprised me with her udder (they pulled her baby off over night so she had a full udder), but she was difficult on the milk stand.  Not going there.  Then they brought in the Nubian.  As she got on the stand, Wally and I exchanged a glance saying to the other, now that’s an udder.  She was wonderful on the milk stand, absolutely wonderful.

Wally and I had to drop off my ATV for service in the same area so we told the woman we wanted to think about it and would come back after we dropped the ATV off.  I don’t think there was much to talk about, that Nubian was the best she had available, likely even better than Emma, the LaMancha who was sold.  There was a Nubian/LaMancha cross that we both liked, but she was promised to an individual as well.  It is unfortunate the woman wasn’t better at returning phone calls because we could have got out there and seen all of the goats she had available and maybe would have made a different decision, but as always, everything happens for reason.

The asking price for the Nubian was a bit more than what I wanted to pay, but we managed to do a bit of bartering and got the price down to where I needed it to be and we loaded up Champagne and took her home.

I’ve mentioned numerous times about the difficulties I had been having with my goats on the stand.  Both Penny and Rain (especially Rain) had started to get fussy on the stand.  It used to be that I could put Rain up on the stand and not even secure her in, but the past few times I milked her, she was fussy.  I was starting to get extremely upset.  There is nothing worst than having a half a bucket full of milk and having a fussy goat tip it.  Loosing even a little bit of milk is upsetting when you have to work so hard to get it out.  The milking isn’t so hard, but keep in mind, there’s a lot of upkeep in a dairy goat.  What goes in is what comes out.  The better you feed them, the better their milk is.

The woman who had the goats for sale milked with one hand.  She milked into a two quart size plastic pitcher.  If you are milking with one hand (which I really don’t like to do, I like using two hands) and holding the container you are milking in to, it doesn’t matter how much the goat fusses on the stand.  It is hard to tip a container if it’s in your hand.  I thought about how it was on the stand with my goats.  They eat for a while and I merrily milk away.  Then they start fussing and I quickly swipe the pail out from underneath them and wait for them to settle down.  Hmmmmm, I was essentially reinforcing my goats for the fussing by stopping milking.

Must be smarter than the goat … sound familiar?

So, when I milked the first night I had Champagne, I did one handed milking.  True to form, Penny was fussy.  Tough nuts goat, I’m still going to milk you.  Fuss away.  She quickly stopped fussing and returned to eating.  Luna’s Modus operandi was lying down on me.  Making the milking stand only wide enough for her to stand on pretty much stopped that problem, but she could still lie down on the stand and fuss.  Generally, she’s been pretty good, but I still milked her one handed and we got through the milking without much issue.  Champagne is magnificant on the stand.  Even the first time I had her up there, she was wonderful.

In an attempt to break Penny and Luna to the stand, I’m going to milking them twice a day.  Since she doesn’t have a baby on her, Champagne has to be milked twice a day so I might as well milk them all.  I’m cutting Rain back to milking her every other day so I didn’t milk her Friday night or Saturday.  I did milk her this morning and she got fussy.  No matter, she couldn’t do much with my milking her with one hand.  I am hoping that eventually all three LaManchas will settle down and behave on the stand and I can go back to milking with two hands.  I can milk Champagne with two hands, which is a good thing because she gives the milk.  I got two gallons of milk from four goats this morning.

Wally keeps talking about getting a bottle calf and I keep telling him no.  I don’t like the practice of taking babies off their mothers and I don’t want to contribute to it.  Also, I don’t want to take care of a cow.  What we might do is pick up some just weaned goat kids, feed them the excess milk and then keep them to slaughter.  We are greatly enjoying the lamb and I think we’d like goat kid meat just as much.  If nothing else, the cats and dogs will eat it.  I’ve decided against selling milk simply because I don’t want to keep milk for any length of time in the refrigerator and I don’t want to deal with glass bottle deposits.  I just make cheese with it and we eat cheese with almost every meal these days.  I made a wonderful pasta sauce last night using olive oil, fresh garlic, basil (from my garden), fresh chopped tomato and goat cheese.  It went well with the lamb burger to which I added chopped garlic and basil.  Goat cheese is wonderful in that it takes on just about any flavor you want.  You can add sweet ingredients like fresh strawberries and use it as a desert or savory ingredients like garlic.  My cheese is back to coming out perfect.

Until later …