We are officially goat poor.

When we bought the young Saanen goat from the local guy, I told him that if he wanted to sell any of the others, to please call me.  Well, yesterday afternoon, he did.  Wally and I went back over there at his milking time and I milked the two goats that he wanted to sell.  They are nothing short of spectacular!  Like the first one we bought, they are from some of the best Saanen lines in the area.  I’ve wanted some of these lines for a long time, I have some of them in Misty and Bella, but these goats are pure Saanen and they are milk goats!  I’ll bet one of them is giving close to a gallon per milking and her udder is not pendulous.  She kidded triplets this year.

Now I have 12 goats to milk and we will be swimming in goat milk.  I decided to start to dry Gwen off so I didn’t milk her yesterday.  I kept an eye on her during the day and she stayed down in the pasture most of the day so apparently she wasn’t uncomfortable.  I’ll milk some off her today and then leave her in the pasture another full day or day and a half.  Gwen has been lactating for over 20 months and it’s time to dry her off in preparation of the birth of her new calf.  Hopefully.  We never had her pregnancy checked, but she’s in the pasture with a bull so surely if she wasn’t bred, she’d have cycled again.  She’s been very cranky about milking lately and I don’t blame her.  We both need a break.

The woman who is starting a dairy and bought Faith and her two kids wrote me earlier this week and asked if I’d be willing to sell another goat and I think I’m going to sell her April.  April is a good goat, but the Oberhasli udders are extremely hard and they take a good bit of strength to milk out.  The woman with the dairy has a milking machine so the hard udders are not a problem for her.  That’s why I sold Faith to her.  The Saanen udders are very soft and are easy to milk out by hand.  That’s the kind of goat I need to keep here.

Yesterday morning was a bit stressful.  I had an e-mail altercation with a woman which really sent me off, but then I realized, it is not, in any way, conducive for me to be angry at something that I had absolutely no control over.  So, I let it go.  I think everyone is entitled to their own decisions about how they run their lives, how they farm, etc.  Then I found out that grain prices have gone up even more.  I bought 10 bags of organic alfalfa pellets last week for $18/bag.  Now they are $20/bag.  I’m sure this is due to gas prices.  Frustrated, I called a local feed mill to order a mixture of all of the grains that they had on hand that were non-GMO, namely, oats, barley, wheat and millet.  In talking to the owner of the mill, she told me that their soybeans were non-GMO and that they would be planting non-GMO corn this year.  Wonderful!!!  The people at this mill have been very good to us and it’s spectacular that they are taking a step in the direction of non-GMO.  She said other farmers were concerned about Monsanto’s ownership of seeds and the potential health problems of GMO grains.  I told her that if she could source organic alfalfa pellets, I’d buy them from her.  Hopefully that will happen.  We can still get organic dairy hay and we’ll continue to feed that to keep the protein level of our goats’ diet up.  Interestingly, the goats were up most of the day yesterday and the production of the ones that I milk at night was down.  Apparently, what they are consuming in the back pasture is high enough in protein to keep their milk production up.  That’s a good thing.  Free food is good food.

The rabbits continue to do well.  Frantically knocking on wood.  Hopefully we can get another rabbit tractor or two done this weekend so I can put at least some of the Silver Fox rabbits out on grass.  I hope we can continue to use these grow-out pens even in the winter months.  Granted, they won’t have grass, but they’ll have lots of room to move around and it’s easy to feed them in these pens.  We’ll need to provide them with a dry area in the back of the tractors to get up off the ground, but other than that, I think they’ll work okay.  I can’t wait to see how the lawn improves from the direct application of rabbit manure.  Actually, it would be cool if we could build the tractors over the raised beds and leave at least some of them there.  We got nice rain yesterday and I need to get more green bean seeds in the garden as well as at least some of the tomato seedlings.

I do not recall if I wrote about the fat that was on the rabbits that we processed on Sunday.  Granted, there isn’t too much fat on a rabbit, but what was there, was yellow!  All the beta carotene in the grass!  A few weeks ago, I processed a couple of rabbits that had been caged and fed mostly pellets.  They had a good deal of fat in their abdominal cavities and it was pure white.  I’ve never seen yellow fat in a rabbit.  That’s great news.

I spoke a little bit to my boss yesterday and I don’t think things are as bad as I once thought they were.  He seems to realize how much I care about the job and want to do a good job.

Well, the goats are calling and I’m going to go out and get it done.

Until later …