Monday, January 27, 2014

Goat in a Storm!

My goats, Bonita and Ida, don't seem to mind the snow at all. They always come to the gate when I head towards the old barn. They have my routine down and know when I head inside their breakfast of grain and mineral powder (which I sprinkle a little over their grain every morning) is moments away. I used to buy those big blogs of minerals but found that goats don't do a great job with those, at least mine don't. A mineral block is great for my sheep, since they don't use it as a toy, step ladder, head-butting target, or other shenanigans. A mineral blocks biggest concern by the sheep is rain and show wearing it away before the seven woolies finish it. But the goats? These girls need a little trickery to consume all their daily vitamins. So I sprinkle mineral on top of breakfast and give them hay to eat afterwards. Seems to work better all around.

Bontia will be having kids (or a kid, who knows!) in a few weeks. She is due anytime from late February through March and I am looking forward to both goat kids in the house again and the flow of wonderful milk from that beautiful goat! I'll never forget how nervouse I was that first sip of goats milk a few springs ago. I was convined it would taste weird, as all the milk I had tried before was, well, "goaty". But fresh milk right from the goat, strained and chilled right after milking is amazing. It has the flavor and taste of whole cows' milk but less thickness, most the consistency of 2%. I was thrilled and relieved and from there came milkshakes, coffee creamer, chocolate milk, cheeses, and soaps. When Bonita is in her peak milking (about 2 weeks after kidding) she delivers a gallon and a half a day! I am one woman! That is a A LOT of milk! Even when I am bottle feeding a pair of twins she is producing enough for a small goat army. I'm glad Ida isn't bred, as double the milking and double the kids proved a bit much last year, but I am happy to have a little doeling born on this farm lined up for when Bonita is retired from the Dairy/mama life. She has some seriously good genes, and I am both blessed and thrilled to keep a Bonita Line going on this little homestead.

How about you guys? Do you have goats or wish for some at your farms? Any hesitations or questions I can help with? Think goats milk is gross or the best thing since sliced bread? Share your goat stories!

P.S. Goats and Soap Workshop at this farm in June! learn about backyard goats, soapmaking, visist a larger goat dairy and see CAF! Only 3 spots left!

17 Comments:

Blogger Kelly said...

Last year was my first year to be "in milk". The day I decided to stop buying store bought cows milk was exciting and scary. My entire family HAD to drink goats milk. I was a nervous wreck for a couple weeks. I was learning to milk a goat and worrying about making my family sick. We had milk for almost six months. By the end of that time my girls started expecting chevre to be permanently stocked in the fridge. It became my favorite snack too :) When I had to buy milk from the store, no one would drink it. They said it tasted and smelled like a public pool :p They have readjusted their taste buds back to the yucky white stuff from the store but I can't wait to be back "in milk" I

January 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Forever Wild said...

Nigerian Dwarf milk is much richer. Better for soap and cheese making, though you don't get the volume the standards give. As an aside... the goats won't drink the store bought goat milk either. ;)

January 27, 2014 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Karen C said...

I have a little different perspective on minerals for goats. When I did a goat weekend at heifer international in Massachusetts, I saw that one of the people who worked there regularly didn't mix the minerals in with the grain, she gave them in a feeder "free choice". I asked about that, and she explained that she felt the goats were the best judge of when they wanted the minerals, and that by putting them in the grain there wasn't a way for the goats themselves to regulate intake. When I had my own goats for a brief period of time, that's how I did it too - a double feeder, one side for grain, the other with loose mineral that they could help themselves to when they wanted. Seemed to work out well for them - just passing along the perspective that was passed along to me. Love the goats!

January 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Fernleaf said...

Goat milk is delicious! We got our first taste of it this summer with our two 'snubians' (Saanen x Nubian) and we were so sad when we decided to dry off the last milker. Although it was a good decision, with our infant son and me being much more immobile than I anticipated after the birth I'm very glad to not have to worry about a milking schedule right now. Unfortunately I may have missed my window to get the girls bred and so am currently looking at a goat-milk-less year :(

January 27, 2014 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger CT said...

I agree with Karen C. I have had goats for years and have always fed mineral free choice. Also, goats do need salt, so make sure you do have either loose salt or a block for them to pick at when they need it. I built a feeder using #40 PVC pipe with a Y clean-out. When it's full it lasts for months for just a few goats. Just make sure if it's outside or anywhere it might get moisture inside of it it has a cap. I made that mistake once and ended up having a sold chunk of mineral to fandangle out out the feeder:)My feeder has lasted me for 7 years and is still working great!

January 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think free choice is a great idea! My goats always knocked over the bucket and the only free choice was what they could lick out of the hay and snow! So I started added to the feed.

I really appreciate this discussion. I wonder if I added minerals first to the bottom of their grain dfeeder they would have more discretion?

January 27, 2014 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Rosalyn said...

I'm on a list for two nigerian dwarf doelings in 2015. I refuse to even try goats milk until I can have fresh milk because I don't want my family (or myself!) to be out off. :) there is a great message board for Nigerians that has a lot of helpful general goat info that you may be interested in, nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com--lots of info about minerals feeding etc. :)

January 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Jenna, I love your blog. I life is a bit crazy the last two weeks. For relaxation, I grab a hard apple cider, and read my favorite bloggers. Cheers to you. I have never owned a goat, nor do I plan too. Bonita loves to pose, and her kids are so cute. So...let's sit by the fire, have a cold one, and chat.

I think that your feeding method make sense. They would probably waste the salt and minerals as you mention.

January 27, 2014 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Total goat milk convert here - we acquired a Nigerian dwarf last spring, and I love her and her milk to pieces! I've been able to make things with her milk that I thought could only be done with cows' milk - ice cream, butter, mozzarella....and keeping a goat is just more sound economically for us (compared to a house cow) - I really can't imagine not having a milking goat as part of our lives now.
-Jaime

January 27, 2014 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Ducky said...

I long to have goats someday but I have several big dreams to tackle first. In addition to enjoying your goat pictures and stories, Jenna, I get my fix checking out the Big Picture Farm blog. Such amazing photos!

http://blog.bigpicturefarm.com/

January 28, 2014 at 2:13 AM  
Blogger aart said...

A sturdy small feeder bin firmly attached to the wall somewhere where they won't climb or rub on it (I know that's hard) is the place to keep free access mineral.

Disclaimer-I don't have goats but have spent the last 18 months of daily reading a very active forum about them in hopes of one day maybe having a few. So my suggestion comes from anecdotal, vicarious 'experience' where 'Onyx Right Now' brand mineral seems to be the favorite.

January 28, 2014 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Katlyn said...

I can't wait until I have my own place. I keep trying to convince my parents to let me get a dairy goat. So far that's been a no go. I want to make as much of my own cheese as I can and have fresh milk to turn into every other possible thing I can. I'm in the process of debating about what breed(s) I want when I do finally get goats. Too many choices!

January 28, 2014 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

That kid will born on the coldest day of the year. That is just the way it is.

January 28, 2014 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

I'm so excited - my friend just got the loan to buy her house, which means that she'll have goats again later this spring. I know that milk is still a ways off, but the thought of getting fresh goat milk again is worth the wait! I bought some at the local health food store, really just so I could make soap, but I thought I'd take a swig and EWWWWWW! It was no where near as tasty as fresh goat's milk - I was so disappointed.

January 28, 2014 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

You know, you can freeze goat milk just like any other milk. Might be nice toward the later part of the milking season. It lasts 3-6 months frozen, of course the longer it's frozen, the less tasty it is. Cool the fresh milk really fast, like in an ice bath, then freeze in quart canning jars with the lids. You could even give the 6 month-plus freezer milk to pigs. It's not "bad" or spoiled, just might have an off flavor, which I'm sure the pigs won't care about!

January 28, 2014 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

A friend of mine has goats and shares their milk on occasion and I LOVE it. I was a little leery, too...but was pleasantly surprised!

January 29, 2014 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Rosie said...

I helped out last year on a large Nubian dairy. The owner had about 60 new kids and I helped bottle feed them in the evening. They gave me a lovely doeling for my hard work. I did not know which one to pick so I let the one that insisted on being my little girl be "it". So Zelda is my little girl and we had her Linear Appraised at the end of the summer and the appraiser said she is Stunning and gave her the highest score for a baby.
So looks like I will be showing her this year and we will breed her late for her first freshen.

February 3, 2014 at 9:47 PM  

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