Lots of changes in the dairy goat department

I decided to sell Luna to the same couple who bought Penny.  They were very happy with Penny, but she wasn’t fitting in well with their existing goats.  It’s usually easier to bring two goats into an existing herd.  They came out to get Luna Sunday morning.  By that time, Wally and I had decided to butcher Dusty (Luna’s daughter) as well as Casper (Penny’s son).  I didn’t care for Luna’s temperament and it appeared that Dusty was going to act just like her. 

When the couple came out, they brought the wife’s parents and their daughter.  I mentioned that we had decided to butcher Dusty and immediately they asked how much I’d take for her.  I consulted with Wally and he said I shouldn’t sell her for less than $60.  While they were thinking about it, they asked to see Moon (the baby with the bent legs).  I went in to get her and put her in the daughter’s arms and it was love at first sight.  I told them that if they took Moon as a bottle baby, I’d let them have Dusty for $50.  The wife’s mother said that she had $50 on her and would buy her. 

Dusty was really too nice a doe to slaughter, but I had more use for her as meat than as a future milking doe especially since I had a pretty good idea how much time it was going to take to break her to the milk stand.  Also, while Moon’s legs were straightening (they could see a difference in her legs from when they saw her last), while running around trying to play with her sister, Moon’s legs were wobbling all over the place and I was afraid she was going to break a leg.  The wife keeps children at her house during the day and I’m sure they will have a ball bottle feeding Moon.  They are keep her in the house and restrict her movement for a while and see how she does. 

When they left Wally thanked me for letting Moon go as he felt sure the legs were not going to get better and that he was going to have to put her down, something he didn’t want to do.

The dairy goat “business” has been a learning experience.  When I bought Rain I knew virtually nothing about dairy goats.  At first, Rain drove me mad, but now that I’ve experienced other goats, I realize how important it is to have a doe who enjoys being handled by humans and who wants to be on the milk stand.  I’m through with chasing goats to get them on the milk stand and dealing with goats who are unhappy about being milked.  I don’t blame Penny or Luna for how they were on the milk stand, but I wasn’t willing to continue to deal with them.

I wrote about how they gave me fits when we worked on the milking parlor.  Even just putting lattice around the lower part of the building was enough to make them act horrible on the stand.  Since I’ve had both Champagne and Lil, they haven’t given me a lick of trouble on the stand.  That’s the kind of goat I want to keep.  I also don’t want to milk with goats with small teats.  It hurts my hands too much.

Our trip to the holistic goat seminar had a dual purpose.  While I was checking out the hours for the Asheville Farmer’s Market, I came across the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture page.  For kicks I looked at the classified section and saw an add for two dairy goats for $100 each.  I called the woman, knowing for sure the goats would be sold by now, but they were not so we made arrangements to stop by there on our way back.  The woman had nine goats and it was too many for her to milk.  In addition to the dairy, she ran a bed and breakfast and an agri-tourism site.  She was one busy woman and her place was incredibly beautiful.  The two goats for sale were a three year old Alpine and a year old Nubian.  As soon as I saw the Alpine, I knew she’d be going home with me.  I was less than impressed by the Nubian.  She had a small udder and teats.  Her mother had a lovely udder and teats and there was a pretty good chance that her future udder would be as nice, but I didn’t want to take the chance.  The Alpine milked beautifully.  We asked the lady if there was another goat she’d be willing to sell.  As she put the last two goats she needed to milk, she pointed out the goats she wouldn’t sell.  I looked at the Alpine she just put up on the stand and asked if she’d sell her and she said she would.  This was a year old Alpine with a lovely udder.  We took them both home.  It was because we brought these two goats home that we decided to offer Luna to the couple who bought Penny.

I put the new goats up on the stand that evening and they were wonderful.  It says a lot for a doe who can be moved to a completely new environment and still cooperate fully while milking.  The woman said that she didn’t keep any milkers who gave her a hard time on the stand.  That said, a doe that is difficult in one environment, may go on to another and be perfectly fine.  Apparently Penny hasn’t given them a bit of trouble since they got her.  I haven’t talked to them about Luna yet.  Different goats for different folks.

Wally and I are now done with dairy goat shuffling.  I am still ahead financially with the goats and even though I am not in good shape financially, I am not too concerned about putting money into dairy goats.  Unless they die, they are not going to loose their value and Wally and I are making very good use of their milk.  We now have five solid milkers.  The Nubians do not produce as much milk as the Alpines and Rain, but their milk is higher in butter fat which improves the quality of my cheese.  I can’t wait to see the udder on Billie, the younger Alpine.  It’s already lovely.  I can’t believe she’s only a year old.  Both goats are in excellent condition.  It is obvious they were very well cared for.  The older Alpine is named Addie.

On Sunday, before I went to work, Wally and I took everything out of the milking parlor then put tarps down on the floor and put stall mats on top of the tarps.  Hopefully this will keep dust down.  Then Wally did some work on the milk stand (the head gate was not holding the goats well) and then we organized and moved everything back in.  It looks great.  As soon as I finishing organizing the items that are no longer going to be stored in the parlor, I’ll take pictures.  While it is not the type of milk parlor that would pass the inspection necessary to become a licensed dairy, it is become less primitive.

A quick update on Simon.  After I wrote about him, he went missing again for a few days.  I thought maybe I had dreamed seeing him again, but Wally confirmed that I was indeed awake.  He returned again quickly, then disappeared.  Today is the first day I’ve seen him several times and he seems to be his normal self.  I wonder if he wasn’t ill in some way.  Hopefully he’s okay now.

Until later …