Won’t be able to do that after this week. Wally and I went up to look at a herd of LaMancha goats on Sunday and I put a deposit on one. She’s got an older kid on her now and is still in milk. She’s a red roan color and named Fire and Rain or Rain for short. I’ll pick her up this weekend.
Decided milking in the mornings would be my best bet. Yes, it will be dark much of the year, but if I get into the habit of milking in the evenings, by the time it gets hot, it will be miserable milking in 90 degree weather. I’d prefer dealing with the dark and eventually cold. That means rising at 4 AM every day. I can do it!
It took me a while to get a handle on milking. I milked four does while I was there. Mine was a little skittish about it and kicked a bit, but she settled down pretty well. The more I milk her, the better she’ll be. It took a while to get past the earlessness of the LaMancha goats, but they grow on you. They are very sweet-natured goats. They are one of the larger breeds of dairy goats which will be good because I could, if I wanted to, breed her to a Boer goat to get larger kids which I’ll keep and ultimately butcher. Then I won’t have to buy any more goats and I will be able to feed them properly from the start so I’ll have healthy kids. No more of this half-starved goat kid business! Unless you have plenty of browse for them, you really need to feed goats. They are not, by nature, grazers.
I put my buck and the three steer goats into the duck/chicken pasture. I moved a feeder in there and mounted it on the fence at goat height and put the poultry feeder inside the PM duck pen and will shut that door during the day. The poultry can eat through the fence. I also moved a small dog pen inside the duck/chicken pasture and put a roost in there for the chickens. There were times the chickens would eat the duck eggs and separating them in the evening will prevent that.
So the goal is: not to rebreed Rain until next year, but keep milking her. When I breed her, I can milk her for three out of her five months of gestation. I can take her up and have her bred to a LaMancha buck, stud fee is only $35. I’ll look for a doe that is of age to breed this fall or winter, breed her to Obie and then probably sell him. It all depends on how difficult he is to keep. A friendly goat is nice, but he’s bordering on obnoxious. Once the young doe freshens, I’ll start milking her and dry off Rain. It will take some planning and I might be milking two goats during some parts of the year. I hope I get good at making cheese as I could sell that at the office. I can sell the milk, but only for pet consumption.
I picked a large bucket of tomatoes yesterday. My garden is still producing! As I write this, I have them in the oven baking. Took out four containers of homemade goat milk yogurt this morning.