Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Milk Pail Diaries:
First Milking at Cold Antler Farm

Bonita arrived at 6AM, delivered in a large dog crate in the back of a pickup truck. The man who delivered her, a brother named Zyrah, at Common Sense was heading to pick up her replacement in Bellow's Falls. He helped me walk her over towards the barn and get her milked. It took two of us, since I had no way to contain her, no stanchion of any sort, and she was nervous being in a new place. We tied her collar and leash to a tree and I help a grain bucket while Zyrah milked her in about 5 minutes flat. I could not believe his speed, three times as fast and forceful as my beginner's hands. I thanked him, grateful just to get the chore done. He walked the full and foamy pail to the side deck where no one could hurt it.

I stood there with Bonita, who was gently nibbling my black sweater. I had not anticipated the importance of a stanchion, the stand that secures the goats head in a loose vice while they eat so they can't move while the milking is done. As I went about morning chores I tried to figure out an inexpensive solution. I didn't want to spend money on a trial enterprise and I didn't want to have a horrible experience either. As I racked my brain I set her inside the pasture next to the sheep. It was where Jasper spent his time when he wasn't in the stall. I figured I'd give her two acres to explore with the strange new sheep a fence away so no one could bust heads, start with the nosing and smelling first. Instead of checking out the pasture, or the sheep, or drinking her water or eating her hay she simply whirled around and in one motion tore down the woven wire fence.

Then I had this stupid moment of panic.

This was a mistake. What the crow was I thinking? I can't contain a goat here, that's why there was a goat kicked out in the first place. And what the hell where you thinking when you took on a goat without anything but a borrowed steel pail? How are you going to milk her when there isn't someone here to hold her? You really aren't capable of this....

I let my inner panic last another few minutes. I walked around the farm frantically doing chores, fuming at myself and my mistake. With one hand full of eggs I grabbed the metal milk pail off the deck by the lip and it splattered out of my clumsy, distracted hands. I wanted to cry, and I didn't care how cliche it was. I was in over my head. I didn't have the right tools or know-how. And I just ruined the first ever pail of Cold Antler Farm Milk....

I let my stupid inner anger last another 45 seconds and then snapped out of it. Why put myself down? Why be angry? You want to change your circumstances, change your attitude about them. I opened the gate and removed Bonita from the place she was destined to fail in. I tied her off at a tree and then took Jasper out into the pasture where he could both have more space to trot and run, and open up a goat-containment zone. I placed her inside the horse paddock and she simply walked out under the latch chain in one deft squeeze. I added a second chain lower down on the gate so she couldn't do that anymore and she started knocking around Jasper's woven wire fence. It had a top line of eclectic already, but that doesn't stop a goat till they've already climbed a fence to get to it. So I grabbed some more t-post insulators and a roll of wire and added a second goat-nose level of electric shock to the inner fence. Now I was cooking with gas.

I got her some fresh hay, clean water, scratched her head and went inside. And she stayed.

My day between milking was ideal, almost sounds fake when I write about it. With the goat secure and her bag empty, I had Gibson help me wrangle those chickens. We ended up taking eight to Ben Shaw in a crate in the back of the pickup with the new Chocolate Drops album blaring. I picked up their CD and the newer Sarah Jarosz album (haven't gotten to that one yet). I love that I bought both of them in Cambridge. Battenkill Books carries some killer CDs and The Village Store does too. I get the whole digital age, but I love holding LPs and CDs, looking at the artwork, setting it on a shelf. Anyway, I digress.

I sang along with "I Am a Country Girl" and dropped off the birds. Then with my crate of birds heading to their fate, and a dog tired from the work that boils in his blood, I took us both home. I put Gib in for a nap and changed into breeches and half chaps. Time to see a horse.

I had a good ride with Merlin, the arena was all ours. We had a rough trail ride on Easter Sunday, he didn't want to cross water. But this ride was great. He did all I asked and I am starting to feel comfortable and natural at a posting trot. We didn't push it, a short and productive practice. And when we were done I tussled his mane and kissed his forehead and asked him if he was getting all the love he needed? He nosed my pocket and I gave him a cookie.

The afternoon was dedicated to chores and errands. I cleaned out the meat bird chick haybale brooder/coop. I checked the bees (thriving!) and I watered the baby plants of greens, garlic, and peas popping out of the first raised beds planted just a few weeks earlier. I put off writing (shame on me) but what the hell, I was ridiculously happy. I even had a plan to make the sorriest excuse for a stanchion ever. Get this: a flag pole holder.

While picking up grain at the hardware store I saw a wall-mounted, swiveling, flag pole holder. Something clicked in my head and I bought it on the spot. It was made so you could mount it to a wall and stick a pole at any angle you wanted, basically a lever you tightened at will. I got out my cordless power drill and mounted it at goat-head height on the outside barn wall. Instead of a flag, I stuck a plunger dowel into it and tightened the screw that would hold my "flag" in place. With a grain bucket hanging in front of it I could do the same thing the fancy metal milking stands did at Common Sense.

When milking time came at 5:30 I was a little nervous. This was it. There was no one here to watch or help, and I was counting on an $8.99 aluminum flag pole holder with a toilet sucker handle on it. I washed my hands, rolled up my sleeves and grabbed the stainless steel pail. It was on.

I filled a plastic bucket with sweet grain and walked over to Bonita. Her bag was HUGE and she seemed happy to see me, all bleats and head bobs. I set the milk pail down and opened the gate. I set her in place over my rigged stanchion, her body against the wall, and I clamped it comfortably shut, using a piece of baling twine to close the top from her lifting her head out. She didn't flinch. She just went to chompsville. I set the pail under her teats (just two!) and started going to town on those suckers. Milk squirted into the pail with a happy force, and I realized I didn't have to be dainty. I went faster and harder and she just ate. It took till the pail was half full before I realized it was working. My head pressed against her side, my arms working one at a time like little pistons. In about 10 minutes the work was done. I set it aside, hugged her, and helped her out of her head lock. Mission Accomplished!

I grabbed the pail and walked it inside, we weren't home free yet. I still had to strain it, bottle it, and do the dishes. I didn't have a strainer, but I did have some gadgets I bet would work. I grabbed a small mesh metal strainer and a coffee filter from the vast collection I inherited when I bought the farmhouse. They had been sitting in a box unused, waiting for a purpose to call them by name. I set the filter paper in the strainer, slowly poured in the foaming milk, and watched as every goat hair and fleck of hay stayed out of the Pyrex bowl below it. I smiled. I could not believe I was making this happen. I poured it into a recycled bottle from Battenkill Creamery and shut the lid. I set it on the kitchen counter and gawked for a while. I just made milk happen... Me. I had never held a container of milk that I was entirely responsible for, ever before. It felt like it was worth an unspeakable sum. After a few moments of quiet revelry, I set it in the fridge. From walking outside to finishing the milking dishes it took 25 minutes. I was impressed. I always thought a milking chore would take an extra 3 hours a day, but one goat wasn't bad at all.
I guess tomorrow I'll find out what goatmilk coffee creamer tastes like...


Blogger Kristin said...

your goat milk project fascinates me. I have some chickens and am grateful the city allows it, but I do wish they'd allow some goats! I can imagine how exciting it was to see your first bottle of milk.

April 10, 2012 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Congratulations! Goat milk coffee creamer is out of this world delicious. Enjoy!

April 10, 2012 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

Congratulations Jenna, I'm proud of you and your determination. It was a new experience but you are adapting nicely. Have a great Wednesday. Nite, nite.

April 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

It's better to chill the milk quickly. Set you bottled milk down in a container of ice water. Farms use a bulk tank with a paddle to slowly agitate the warm milk so it will cool quickly. Bacteria reproduces quickly in warm milk and gives you off flavors.

good for you, you're a dairy farmer now!

April 10, 2012 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

Very well done! It SO makes me want a goat! But now I know several things I need first, lol.

April 10, 2012 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

Good for you Jenna. Necessity is the mother of invention!!!

We use a strainer, but then I cut pieces of my husbands old white undershirts to strain through. I keep a small bucket with vinegar water on my washer. I rinse the squares (or whatever shape you would need for your strainer) in water and then put them in the pail. I got a lingerie bag and throw them in that, zip it closed and wash them.

April 10, 2012 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Thanks for sharing your first day with Bonita with us! All's well that ends well. My husband bought me a goat husbandry book for my birthday and we are looking forward to getting a couple some day! Goat cheese pizza, mmm....

April 10, 2012 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Congratulations! How exciting! Enjoy your morning brew and your new experience ☺

April 10, 2012 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger From the Country Farm said...

Hey Jenna, you don't have to post this, but wanted to let you know that the proper term for her "bag" is udder. Bag is slang and not used any longer (to my knowledge) just like male goats are no longer called 'billies' they are bucks. Also your fridge is not cold enough to get the milk chilled to the proper temp quickly enough, I use my freezer and a timer lest I forget - yes I've done that! ;-) other than that good for you! I'm so excited to hear about your new adventure!

April 10, 2012 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Karen Rickers said...

Oooooh! I am tasting the homemade chevre and yoghurt now. Yum! Good for you, Jenna.

April 10, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

Just spit-balling here, but I think you could make a quick temporary milking stand with 4 used pallets and 12' 2X4. Stack 3 pallets one on top of the next (securing them to each other as you go) and the fourth for a ramp. Cut the 2X4 into three 4' sections. Mount one vertical to the pallets, cut one into appropriate sized cross pieces for the top and bottom - also attached to the pallet platform were possible. Mount the other 4' 2X4 vertical but don't attach it to the pallets. Attach it to the lower cross member with a door hinge and to the upper cross member with an appropriate door latch. Cover the top pallet with some plywood or other material to eliminate the holes. Hang the feed in front. Total cost maybe $10.

April 10, 2012 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

Well done, Jenna. And way to figure out the stanchion. That's just genius.

April 10, 2012 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I have to agree with Sheila on the quick chilling - it will help the milk stay fresh longer, too. You can also set it in the freezer for awhile first, then move it to the fridge. Not as effective as the ice bath, but easier. Also, not sure if this has already been covered, but I strongly suggest sterilizing your bucket, bottles, etc. - you'd soak them in a very dilute bleach solution since you don't use a dishwasher or you could boil them, but that takes forever, and you're doing this twice a day. A teat dip when you're finished will benefit Bonita and help keep infections at bay (we use a pint jar with warm water, a teaspoon or so of bleach and a couple drops of dish soap). Apologies if you're already doing this stuff or have some other protocol - I just realized I probably sound like a busybody!

I'm so glad to hear that your first milking went so well. GREAT JOB on the makeshift stanchion, too. Way to think on your feet!

April 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

No no no offense taken! Give me your milk advice!!! how long in the freezer? How long for each "dip"


And CJ, you're idea is genius (and I got your email, but am so behind in emails). How about this, you make me a stanchion out of pallets and you got a free ticket to Antlerstock!

I would just ruin pallets.

April 10, 2012 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

and thank you for the kind words!

April 10, 2012 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Wow! Amazing what your mind will seize on when there's a problem to be solved.

We don't have their new album yet, but I think of you every time I listen to the Chocolate Drops.

April 10, 2012 at 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been milking my goats for 3 years now and have always strained and put the milk directly into the fridge. I've never had any problems with off tastes or it going bad--it just doesn't last long enough. If I have a back log of milk I make a batch of cheese or ice-cream . . . with the freshest milk and problem solved.

I echo what the others said about sterilization. I use 'Simple Green' washing liquid. You buy it in concentrate and dilute with water. I wash the udder with it before milking (my hands too), then dry the udder. I use the lid of the container to pour a little of the solution into and dip each teat into it then dry each one again. I use paper towels for all of this because I feel they're cleaner and won't be reused. Whatever you're doing, always take the time to clean your hands and the udder. Mastitis is nasty, costly and long lasting. Avoid it like the plague. Also, her bedding needs to be clean since her udder will be laying on it for long periods and and bacteria--or stray chicken poop can cling to it and start mastitis. Best of luck to you. I've enjoyed my goats more than any other farm animal, they're a lot of fun!

April 10, 2012 at 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your dilemas and solutions Illustrate your creative and innovative talents/spirit.
Great ideas and energy - very 'you'.

April 10, 2012 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Rane said...

Here is some great u~tube that tells you all you need to know. Hope you dont mind that I am posting them here for you.
And this video is just so darn cute!<3
Hope these help!

April 10, 2012 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

My favorite way to chill the milk is to put the jar in a pot of ice water (so all the milk is submerged), and then put that pot in the fridge. It becomes a permanent item in there, but my oh my does it make the milk heavenly. If you find the milk tastes "goaty", there is a 90% chance that it's coming from the milk not being chilled fast enough. Goat milk is much more delicate than cows milk, so it can pick up off-flavors faster than say cow milk.

I sell raw milk, so I've spent the last few years perfecting a style on how to keep things squeaky clean, and the milk COLD.

Although, warm milk, freshly strained right into a cup is also great! I always reserve a bit from the nightly milking for a bed-time drink. ;) LOL.

Congrats on the ingenious "milk stand"! I remember when I first started with goats, I didn't have a stand either... Oy.

April 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Megan, Rudy's mom said...

Wow! This is impressive. I just ordered that book you mentioned earlier today.

April 10, 2012 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Great problem solving! You are a quick study! I still take 10 minutes per goat and I'm on my third year.

April 10, 2012 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

I have never owned milk goats; but I was watching a woman on youtube; #1...she milked into a gold fish bowl from the back instead of the side. it was high enough to rest her hands on so her arms didn't get tired; #2. The first two long squirts she squirted on the bench the goat was on because she was looking for blood or pus in the milk. If she saw it she didn't keep the milk and she knew she had to medicate for what ever was wrong. #3. She filtered with a permanant coffee filter. YOu know the ones that you don't throw away? It worked fantastic. #4. Don't wait to filter the milk until chores are done. That is enough time for one hair to ruin a batch of milk. Good luck.

April 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

oh and ps...be careful. You will gain some weight on goats milk but on the positive side? Next years piggies will too.

April 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

What a new and exciting adventure Jenna!! It's great because each time you start a new adventure, so do all your readers! Now not only do I get to read about sheep, shepherding, horses, chickens, etc... now goats are included in my daily entertainment!! Woot!! Thanks for always keeping it real Jenna!

April 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

A solid protocol is to sterilize anything that will touch the milk every time you use it. You can experiment with different ways to do this and settle on one that works best with your routine, available resources, etc. We use the dishwasher a lot for this since we're running it anyway, but sometimes we use bleach. We'll fill our milk pail with cold water and a small amount of bleach (a cap full or so) and drop the smaller items in it, and let that sit for about 10 minutes in the sink. Drain and air dry.

For our milking routine, we brush around their udder to remove loose hairs and larger debris (straw, etc.) and dampen a cloth with the aforementioned teat dip (doubles as udder wash). Wipe down the udder and teats thoroughly, especially the orifices, and follow with a dry towel. If you go permanent with this, you'll want to invest in a strip cup - a small container with a mesh lid. You take the first couple of pulls from each teat into this cup, inspect and dump. You can identify problems easily this way - look for small lumps, off-colored milk, etc. We like to discard those first couple of pulls anyway - sort of like "clearing the lines". Once you're finished milking, dip each teat. And by dip, that's really all I mean. We use a pint jar filled with solution and just hold it up to each teat, dunk, swish, done. Some folks like to apply bag balm at this point, but we've found it usually isn't necessary.

Another thing that you don't have to do but I really like - place a metal mesh strainer over your pail while you milk. It helps keep out a lot of hair, hay, the odd fly, etc. even before you get to the filtering stage. Again, not strictly necessary, just something I like to do. I have a bowl-shaped one that nests perfectly over my milk pail.

Bottom line - keep everything as clean as possible and the milk as cold as possible. When in doubt, throw it out (to the chickens, that is). This all probably sounds like a lot more work, but once you get faster at the actual milking, you'll find that it doesn't add much to your overall time.

April 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once you're settled into your milking routine, I'd love to see a picture of Bonita in your Magiver'd stanchion. Not knowing about goats I'm having trouble visualizing.

Great job shutting down negative self talk and freeing your mental energy to deal with the issue at hand. Sounds like quite a day.

April 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

You are an amazing whirling dervish Jenna- you just don't give up and it's just so admirable! Great job on the impromptu stanchion. CJ's idea sounds pretty cool though if you decide to keep her. Enjoy your extra special coffee tomorrow mornin- ill be thinking of you when I add my boring store-bought cream to mine!

April 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

I'm green with envy, Jenna! I've been waiting for my goats since October. They are due to be born any time now and I should be able to bring them home in June or July. I can't wait. Just one doe - a miniature Nubian and one wether - a dwarf Nigerian to keep the doe company but oh, when I can milk my doe sometime next year I'll be grinning from ear to ear. I know there will be many lessons between now and then (namley kiddding!) but I think I'm ready. Cheese - here I come!

April 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

Oh, and Jenna - I've been taking lots of goat care classes in preparation for my new arrivals and I've been told there are many benefits to giving your goats ground, dried kelp. I've even heard that one goat keeper who has given his goats kelp regularly hasn't had a case of mastitis in 16 years. I'm definitely adding it to my goats' feed!

April 10, 2012 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

Yay a goat! Yes, chill the milk quickly so you don't unleash the goaty flavor. Goat milk is more delicate than cow's milk. I usually dunk my bottle of fresh milk in cold water to bring the temp down.
Now quick make some chevre and that goat will never leave. Or halloumi...or cajeta...or...

April 11, 2012 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

Well done! Gosh I know that rising panic feeling, then the head or heart never sure which lol shouts hey you! you can do this! stop panicking!
I am so envious for goat milk yum, I used to get it off the milkman here but then it got too expensive sigh, I get free raw cow milk so that had to replace the goat. Goat has such a clear fresh taste to it, when you get used to it, cow milk will forever seem a little'off' even wen it isnt.
GTM x x x

April 11, 2012 at 1:57 AM  
Blogger Coco said...

Do you have some sterlization supplies hanging around that you use for brewing? Would those work on the milking equipment?

April 11, 2012 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

More input in case you want it:

I use a chlorhexidine based teat dip after milking because I don't like bleach on the skin every day. Definitely strip each of her teats, and don't dump that milk on the stanchion (if you get one) or in the area where Bonita stays. Don't shake the milk, because it will damage the fats and can make the flavor off. Also, I don't ever put my milk in icewater or the freezer...just right into the fridge. I've had to turn down the temp of the fridge (WAY down) but never have off flavored milk. Also, I don't sanitize equipment every time, just wash it HOT soapy water, and the dishwasher about once a day or every 2 days.

And do you mean Bonita tore the fence off the post, or just bent it? Because if she tore it off that easily, you may want to re-attach your fence a better way to make sure it's more predator proof.

April 11, 2012 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

My husband's cousins raise goats...her suggestion to us is to put a recycled soda bottle, filled with water, in the freezer. Use this like an ice pack. When you go out to milk, put the soda bottle ice pack down in the milking pail, so the milk never has a chance to get too warm. Especially since, being new to milking, it might take you longer from time to time to get her fully milked. Good luck! Very exciting!

April 11, 2012 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger e.m.b. said...

Huzzah! I'm clapping for you! And I can speak from personal experience, that goat milk in coffee is delicious.

April 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger feathers217 said...

Oh Jenna.... You continue to amaze & amuse me each and every day. My day is started with a cup of coffee & your on going life lessons , that's after I feed the dog of course. It makes me realize just how simple (yeah right) life can be , it makes all the NOISE of everyday life seem not so bad. I admire you for your spirit & resolve to not be defeated. I also want to thank you for the mention of Chickens in the Road , what a wonderful site and yes , another quite amazing woman standing her ground for what she wants her life to be. I think the two of you could be great friends !

April 11, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Great move on the goat. I have two milkers and I love them, and their milk. Its so healthy. Gandhi had a doe that saved his life. He was very unhealthy and goat milk nourished him so well that after he felt better he took the doe with him every where. I like to think about that when I am enjoying my goat milk. Enjoy Jenna.

April 11, 2012 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

I am so in awe... you're amazing.

April 11, 2012 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Shalet said...

How exciting -- I want to get dairy goats really bad! I'm just trying to figure out how to make it work in the city. First stop -- changing the backyard laws.

Enjoy your new gal!

April 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger CJ said...


April 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Way to go Jenna! I look forward to lots of fun Bonita stories.

April 11, 2012 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Jenna you are so inspiring! You might already know this, but when I started dreaming about goats I discovered Fias Co Farm's website. They have a great how to guide for building a stanchion. http://fiascofarm.com/goats/milkstand.html

April 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger bookkm said...

Now, you have it all, food animals, milk animal, wool animals, egg animals, and work animals. Plus vegetable plots and pasture. Give a contented sigh.

April 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Julia Wright said...

Congrats on taking a leap into the goat world. I have a handful of nannies that are currently just kid raisers for freezer meat, but my plan is to eventually co-milk them (keep the kids on them, but take a partial milking for ourselves) to have some milk for the house too.

April 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

For the 100th time: you are fricking awesome. This new turn of events in your life is facinating.

April 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Mist said...

Way to go Jenna and Bonita! This must have been amazingly satisfying.

April 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Cait said...

Congratulations. We have (unexpectedly, as we lost a lamb) three large mason jars of sheep's milk sitting in the fridge waiting for us to turn it into cheese, yogurt or ice cream.

It certainly is an amazing feeling. Congratulations and best of luck with Bonita!

PS: We've been milking her for about 5 days and since there are two of us one has been doing the holding and the other the milking. Thanks for the inspiration to finally make a temporary stand!

April 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Sara Thompson said...

When we had goats, I built a milking stand from directions out of a book. I still have the book so I could get you the title. I think it's the ultimate homesteading book because it's how to make your own farm "equipment".

April 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Catcoco said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Catcoco said...

This stand only requires a few planks and a is quite easy to make. If you need something more traditional, that is :) http://fiascofarm.com/goats/milkstand.html
The site is also full of great goat info.

And, congratulations !

April 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

Congrats! Glad to hear the bees are thriving, too!

April 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog!!! Havent got the entire thing read I'm savoring it....got some pumpkin bread in the oven right now. Pumpkin I grew last year, and canned. Are you into foraging, I haven't read much from you on the subject. I heard out local radio station (tradio segment) ask for morels from 3 separate listeners.

April 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog!!! Havent got the entire thing read I'm savoring it....got some pumpkin bread in the oven right now. Pumpkin I grew last year, and canned. Are you into foraging, I haven't read much from you on the subject. I heard out local radio station (tradio segment) ask for morels from 3 separate listeners.

April 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Sue Steeves said...

That milk looks sooooooo yummy!

April 11, 2012 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

I absolutely second (or third) the Fias Co website. She is a wonderful wealth of information and I also buy her arthritis and dewormer herbs and immune system booster tincture. The arthritis herbs have done an amazing job on my knees, let alone for my goats (I tested it on myself first). My milk stand instructions came from an article on the dairy goat journal site. They gave Nigerian size instructions.

REALLY REALLY important. Always have loose minerals available (and baking soda) to Bonita because you never know what minerals may be blocked by your water or pastures. I think we have a lot of calcium and iron in our water that is blocking copper absorption in my Nigerians and there's nothing I can do about it. I have them on Cargill Right Now Onyx minerals. It has the highest concentration of copper that I could find. They had been on Hubbard Tradition and I may add that back in for the extra vitamins A,D,E. The minerals you give your sheep will NOT work for Bonita and goat minerals will NOT work for sheep. Copper is really important for goats and can easily kill sheep. As far as goat feed, I have been giving them mare and foal horse feed because it's easily available and has a good amount of copper and selenium. I'm going to be gradually working them over to a custom mix I recently picked up from a local organic feed mill in PA.

Make sure you ask the previous owner about vitamin shot and vaccine schedules. BOSE (vitamin E and selenium) and CDT are the 2 main shots I give and I also give extra copper via pills a couple of times per year. I also keep a bottle of Multimin with copper around if anyone looks like they need an extra boost. I also like Power Punch (looks like molasses)for a quick pick me up.
I give a few drops of that with Probios in the milk for my newest bottle baby. Also make sure you test her yearly for CAE. She may be negative now, but it can lie dormant in their system for years. All it takes is enough stress to trigger it. I found that out the hard way.

Congrats on a successful milking. It's sooooo gratifying realizing that you can bring in you own milk from the back yard. I've only had mine a year and a half. Waiting on doe #2 to give birth next month. She gave quads last year!

April 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Hey Jenna, I got my Jeffers catalog today and it had an H2Go Bag on the front. Check it out. Thought it might come in handy around your place, and it's cheap. http://www.jefferslivestock.com/h2go-bag/camid/LIV/cp/SEP-H2/

April 11, 2012 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

That is genius Katiegirl!

Thank you for all the advice and links folks!

For the record, not a single comment has been refused! Such a great feeling to have a calmer place again!

April 11, 2012 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Taryn Kae Wilson said...

Awesome!! I know that feeling of accomplishment when you first milk a goat!
We milked goats for years and loved it.
Wish you lived closer because we have a wood milk stanchion that is not in use and would happily give it to you.
Goat's milk is so delicious. I prefer it over cow milk. And the cheese!
I could talk about goats all day, I have a fondness for them.

Enjoy your milking adventures.

Love, Taryn

P.S. Looks like an Oberhasli, we had a few Oberhasli mixes

April 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger TwoBlueHeelers said...

Woke up with an insight this morning. That first spilled pail of milk could be seen as a kind of libation... if it went onto the ground, you could say that Cold Antler Farm itself received the first gifts of the new goat. :) I'm sure Bonita will give many, many more in future milkings!

April 12, 2012 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger rachel whetzel said...

Congratulations on your goat!! I love my goats, and their milk. Congrats too on your impromptu stanchion! A couple things.
First: I fifth, sixth or whatever it is now... you NEED to chill your milk. It will taste like you've licked a buck if you don't, and it will spoil faster. Fast, speedy chilling is one of the keys to good goat milk.
Second: You need two goats. Goats are herd animals, and they really don't do as well with only one of them. Being in with the sheep just isn't the same. They also tend to not try to get "out" from where they are if they have a buddy. Another doe, or even a wether will do the trick.
Third: You can make a stanchion out of almost anything! I made one using an old (and free) TV/entertainment stand. You can see it here. http://www.minetothine.com/2010/09/satisfaction.html If you make your own, be sure to start small with the head bar. It's amazing how small a space you really need, and you can make a hole larger easier than shrinking it.
Congrats on your goat!!

April 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger rachel whetzel said...

@Pawsfurme: I just read your comment about copper (a SUPER important mineral, as it appears you already know.) I bolus my goats with COWP. Here's an article about it, and how it works. I don't use the marshmallow. I just top the feed with a sprinkle of it, and they all gobble it right up. http://www.goatspots.com/copper.html

April 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger rachel whetzel said...

Jenna, (sorry for the third comment in a row... and don't publish this if you don't want to, it's purely for YOU) I know that you and Deborah (of homegrown and handmade) have been promoting each other... she has a ning group for Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats... it's got some AMAZING information on it. No matter that the breed isn't the same. It's good stuff. You should head over and read up. You won't be sorry you did!! http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com

April 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

Rachel Whetzel - I do copper bolus twice a year, but it doesn't make much difference. I still have faded coats, forked tails and missing hair on faces on some of my goats. Thanks for the thoughts, though. Short of putting a whole house filter on my parents' water system, there's nothing I can do until I get my own place.

April 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger rachel whetzel said...

@pawsfurme I have a friend with sulfer in her well, and she boluses four-six times a year. You might try it and see if you notice any difference... I've got a balding doe myself right now... working of fixing her issues. At least the temps aren't as cold as they were just a month ago!

April 13, 2012 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger T.J. said...

you were already living a life that I love reading about, but JENNA!! this post gets right to my soul. Some day, oh some day, I will own a few goats here- I've wanted to own a goat or 2 for over a decade now, even have names picked out- the honestly, bluntness and sheer joy of your experience here leaves me glowing with excitement.

April 14, 2012 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

@ rachel - Thanks. I may have to up the frequency. I've thought about it off and on, but haven't gotten the courage to try. Those who say goats are easy keepers haven't had goats living on less than ideal water.

April 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Violet said...

Okay. The last post made my heart sing. This one brought tears of joy.

That's how much I want milk goats. I'm crying happily over someone else's goat accomplishment.

I'm sure you know the feeling. :)

April 20, 2012 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger Betty Bohemian said...

I just ran across your blog while searching for impromptu milking stands. So I love your writing style and I think your blog will become a fave!

April 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM  

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