The Truth About Dairy Goats
Yeshiva, who has more grace than I can ever wish to achieve, stated this perfectly. With a smile she answered that keeping the kids with their mother, while seemingly more natural, actually works against domestication. What we all want is a happy goat that runs to meet us in the barn, right? Well that only happens because from the moment they first met the world it was us humans that fed them, cared for them, and kept them warm. Unlike sheep or horses, a goat's job isn't to be ridden or make lamb chops. Her job (at least on this farm) is to be milked so I can drink it, make cheese, and cure bar after bar of soap.
A dairy animal of any specie gives birth to create that beautiful natural creation process we call lactation. I don't have Bonita and Francis to be pets, they are here for the milk! And their offspring is just a part of the process of getting to that milk. I could leave the little ones with their mothers, but the truth is that they would need to be separated from their mothers within a week. Why let them bond and them take them away from each other? It only causes added stress for both the offspring and the mother. I want blissfully ignorant dairy mama's on my stanchions. Goats that were raised by people, that trust people, and who associate me with grain and that sweet relief of milking to reduce those painful swollen udders...
Some farms let the babies with the mothers for a few days, I do not. It's a choice I made based on what I have studied, seen, and what mentors and memoirs have taught me. Remember that every single animal on this farm is here to do work, not to be a pet or a fantasy creature. I will sell the kids soon as possible to folks who want to raise up sweet kids of their own for the same purpose. Or perhaps someone who wants a little wether to back their backcountry gear or pull the milk cart? I have ponies for that job around here! So the kids are here as a blessing of a few days and then off to start their lives on other farms. The mother gets milked and the whole dance gets repeated next year.
Do other goat milkers out there do things the same way as me?