Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Great Goat Experiment

One day a friend with beautiful Nubian goats called and said one of their new fresheners, named Moonshine, needed a home and asked if we would be interested. Being that circumstances haven’t allowed me to milk my cow we have been missing fresh milk very badly to say the least. And we already knew we like goat’s milk.

After careful consideration, I decided to give it a go, so we brought Moonshine home that very evening, along with a borrowed milking stand.

Moonshine is a gentle, sweet girl! Reminds me of a dog the way she wants to follow me around; and very pretty with her coloration, markings, and floppy ears. She is 5 years old, lead trained, hand milking trained, and this is her fourth freshening. She really knows the ropes! We keep her with our sheep for company. She looks like a pony next to the little Shetlands! Everyone gets along quite well.

I already had the necessary milking accoutrements, except my milk pail is way too big. So I’m borrowing a stainless steel 3 qt. pot from the kitchen. The first time milking her she was so patient with my slowness, even with being at a new home and all the animals she’s never before seen - sheep, cattle, chickens, and dogs. Her smaller size compared to a cow is quite of nice! On her 7th day after freshening she was already giving 3 quarts of milk. Way to go Moonshine! Of course, my mind turned to thoughts of cheesemaking.

Now comes the “experiment” part. With my health issues I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep up with twice a day milking but I needed to find out. Usually by evening I’m down for the count, or on the days I feel quite ill, am down all day. The evening milking was really, really difficult. I calf-share with my cow, but Moonshines’ kids died so I didn’t have that assistance on such days. And Himself is not adept with milking in the least, although he did try. After 3 weeks I knew it was too much.

In addition, increasingly we could tell Moonshine wasn’t as happy with her new living arrangement as she should be. Although she bonded with me almost immediately, she didn’t want to go with the sheep browsing around the property; all she wanted was for me to hang out with her all day. She spent a lot of time calling for me and not eating like she should, poor dear. And more goats for company just don’t fit into our Ranch picture.

So I found a wonderful home for her with a family new to the area that happened to want goats on their homestead. Everyone is completely happy now!!!

I enjoyed my brief goat experiment with sweet Moonshine and would recommend a milk goat to anyone so inclined!

No comments:

Post a Comment