Sometimes it’s better not to fight with them …

Goats that is. I have a few goats that are not giving a lot of milk. Two of the three have a doe kid(s) on them; one has none. I bought these goats for their pedigrees.  They are bred to give a good bit of milk **however** they were relocated, it is hot and dry (they spend the day under the cedar tree instead of out eating grass) and I do not keep alfalfa hay in front of them 24/7.  They do not get alfalfa hay period.  I cannot find non-GMO straight alfalfa hay.  Instead they get alfalfa pellets (in their feed when they get milked) and Chaffhaye (at night when the babies are up).  The Chaffhaye is not high protein, but it is highly digestible and has beneficial bacteria which is good for their rumens. I see a difference in them when they are not getting Chaffhaye — they look bloated from the grass that they do eat.

Anyway, the ones with kids on them are not giving much milk at all. A few days ago, I elected to just leave the babies out and not even bring in the ones with kids on them when I milk. Why feed them grain if they are not giving *me* any milk.  Yes, I know this is selfish, but really, the amount of grain that they get on the milk stand is minimal. While they are not giving me any milk, they are feeding their doe kids who are the potential future of my milk herd, so really, I should give them their daily allotted grain.

Dealing with the kids when milking is a PITA. Last night was no exception.  Willow, one of the does with a single kid on her, was hell-bent on coming in when I was milking.  Goats are pushy creatures.  They crowd the door, pushing and shoving to come in.  I guess I should be glad that they want to come in remembering how many times I’d have to chase one of my former milk cows, Moon, in to be milked. Last night, Willow pushed by me and I grabbed her collar (a plastic chain collar with a break away link) and it broke in my hand.  At which time, two more does and three babies slipped into the milk room.  I lost it.

I was really tired yesterday.  Without exaggeration, I unloaded over 1,000 pounds of compost on Wednesday: in the afternoon when it was close to 90 degrees. In addition to my animals, I am taking care of horses and goats for a friend. I am still agonizing over my portfolio.  I am worried about my future. I sat down twice yesterday in a lounge chair and immediately fell asleep both times.

One of the reasons why I elected to not put the kids up the past couple of days is that their pen needs to be cleaned.  I haven’t done it because I have been so busy doing other stuff. I need the goat manure straw to put between my newly constructed rows. Cleaning out the goat pen is a PITA because the babies climb all over the UTV while I am doing it.  I can bring Gel in to keep them off, but one of the goats, Bonnie, is hell-bent on killing Gel which is a PITA. Needless to say, the goat shed is getting cleaned out this morning, the kids are going up every night and I am going to make the time to make cheese with the excess milk. Even if I have to clean out the kid pen every day, they are going up.  If the goats would rather eat hay instead of grass, then they can eat the freaking hay. As soon as we get the pasture cross-fenced, which was going to happen this weekend, I will close them down below to force them to range and eat (the grass is more tender down below plus there is browse) but instead I think we are going to try to get the rest of the garden area free of grass clods and leveled out. Plus the irrigation comes today which we will need to get installed. The cross fence will have to wait. Our window of opportunity to get the rest of the garden prepped to plant is running out (at least in my mind it is).

There are people that sell/breed goats that give over a gallon of milk a day.  That is unfathomable to me. If a goat gives a half gallon or close to a half gallon a milking for me, I am happy. I suppose if I kept alfalfa hay in front of them 24/7 and fed a high protein commercial goat feed mine would give me more milk, but quite frankly, a goat is a goat. I am not so sure they should be giving that much milk. Like with the dairy cows, I do not think this constant breeding and feeding for high production is inherently good for the animal in the long haul.  I know there are lots of people that will disagree with me on this, but it is a stance I’ve held for as long as I’ve had goats.  My cows were likely giving half of what they’d give if they were at a commercial dairy because I did not feed them like dairies do. I believe my goats will have more longevity not being pushed for production.

To me, a goat’s temperament and health are more important. I need to keep that in mind when I get angry with the goats for not giving as much milk as I feel like they should. I am not a very accepting person. I am hard on myself and those around me.

I am also very honest.

Until later …