Goats

Sir Loin, our calf hanging out with his buddy. Spice is one of our milk goats.
Sir Loin, our calf hanging out with his buddy. Spice is one of our milk goats.

Over the past several days, I have been making garlic slicing cheese from goat’s milk.

A nice cake of freshly made goats' milk cheese.
A nice cake of freshly made goats’ milk cheese.

I think one of the best things that my family ever did for our farm was to get some dairy goats. I know a lot of people think all goats are smelly and that goats will eat anything. Actually, the girls who are called does just like deer, don’t stink. It’s the bucks (intact males) who will stink at certain times of the year. Another thing is that if you watch a flock of goats, they are very picky about what leaves and grasses they eat. They adore poison ivy. Our place is completely cleared of it.

We got into goats around 2005 or 2006. I think one of the most important things that a person can do, is find a mentor. Also, get a copy of the book “Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy goats” It’s is by Jerry Belanger. That book will help you so much in raising goats. At this time of year, our babies are all weaned. We bottle raise them ourselves because they don’t wean easily and they do put more wear on their mother’s udder than just being milked does.

Our does are in full production right now. We get about 4lbs of milk per doe, per milking during the peak of their milking. With that milk, our farm makes it’s own cheese, it’s own soap, and of course we have plenty of goats’ milk to drink. We have 3 good does for 3 adults that all live on our farm. Our does get fed alfalfa pellets at every milking which we milk them twice a day.

One thing that I would strongly suggest is even if you don’t want two does milking, and you don’t want to have a buck, get two does. I found that if you get a doe and a neutered male, the male will beat up on the female when he gets older. It’s heartbreaking to have to deliver still born kids because of having had a bully with the doe. If you can find a buck owned by someone else and you don’t want to have a whole lot of goats, you can choose to just breed one doe to the buck.

We love the whole process. It’s such a joy to go out to the pasture and see the girls weaving at the gate, begging to go get milked. It’s also a lot of fun to call the goats and watch our goat stampede happen. All of ours are bottle raised so they are very affectionate with people. A goat that was not raised on a bottle will be much more standoffish,

I could talk more about these much loved members of our farm because there is so much that I could say, but I think I’d better leave that for another post.

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