Thursday, September 20, 2012

Milking Muscles

One year later and I'm still milking,  all because of  one goat "Lucky Star's Acceptance" aka Zolena, we haven't had to buy a drop of milk since bringing her home. It was a truly a lucky star that brought her into our life and our family got to meet the elegant and charming Lamancha's.   We have been so impressed with her milking ability that we've thought perhaps we'd just buy another Lamancha doe and buckling next Spring and focus primarily on this breed.  Zolena is so smart and inquisitive, we've had to double latch every gate and watch if something's amiss in the goat pasture, usually she's the little monkey behind all the mischief.

As you know we also have a sweetheart Nubian named Jersey, and the cheese girls, Joon and Snowdrop are Nigerian Dwarf does.  Right now we're at 4 does and one buck "Cowboy".  Both Stormy and Comet the two wether's went to a great home together and are sharing a pasture and barn with a couple of alpaca's, they're helping to eat down the blackberries.  I hear they're doing wonderful and have settled right down in their new home and are happy.

Over the past few months I've thought so much about who should stay and who should go as far as the does, now at this point in the year I've decided to keep all four since we love our goat family and it's diversity.  Jersey never was pregnant, if you can believe that.  I must have overfed her and she just got big.  I felt pretty silly after her due date came and went and I had been going outside at night to check on her night after night, then she never was pregnant.  I wanted to get her bred to a purebred Nubian and last year we went to the buck 3 times to get her bred.    This year I've decided to keep her and try one more time to get her bred and will breed her to Cowboy.

I've been milking Joon, our little black Nigerian since the middle of July when her kids were weaned.  I grumbled at first because she wasn't as easy to milk as Zolena, then after a couple of weeks my milking muscles grew and I adjusted, now I love milking little Joon.  She likes being a dairy goat, and she's a great milker, giving a full to the brim quart of high butterfat milk everyday.  I only milk once per day, usually around 9:30 AM, I'm sure both goats would produce more milk if I milked them twice per day.  With one milking per day, Zolena gives about 3/4 of a gallon right now and Joon a quart.  So, I'm still getting about a gallon per day.

My plan is to breed all the does to Cowboy, he's a Nigerian and has a champion pedigree, there are some gorgeous milking does in his lineage.  I've done research on miniature Nubians and Lamancha's and have decided to use him for breeding them all.  If you remember last year I was opposed to breeding miniatures.  Over the last couple weeks I've been getting the does and Cowboy ready by deworming them and giving mineral supplements, like copper, selenium and vitamin E, as well as writing down dates when each doe is in heat.  I will breed Jersey first then the other's, spacing them apart over 2 months.  

We also emailed Lucky Star Lamancha Farm and are planning to go visit them the first of October to look at their bucks and does.  I told Judy the owner that I was looking for a show quality doe in milk.  You never know I may want to show my goats next year at a couple of local events, I think Zolena is show quality and would do well.

Sorry I haven't been here writing on my blog over the Summer.  I've missed sitting down penning my thoughts and going onto other blogs I enjoy.  Anyway hello again and Happy Fall :)


dep31 said...

I'm so inspired by what you're doing! We finally bought our 'homestead' this summer, and are looking forward to doing a lot of the same things that you've got going. We 'inherited' 4 Nigerian dwarf goats with our new house, but since they're all fixed, I won't be milking any of them!

So nice to see that we're not the only aspiring homesteaders in Snohomish! We just moved north of the city of Snohomish, east of Lake Stevens.

Jewel said...

dep31 thanks for your nice comments. I also love knowing other's close by who are on a similar path. We can share thoughts and ideas as well as what we're learning and doing. Congratulations on buying your first homestead! Now the fun begins.

Mich Heywood said...

I have been dropping by your blog once in a while the last few monthes to see if there have been any updates; so was pleased to see that you had a new blog entry :)
I would love to get a couple of milking goats.

LuckyRobin said...

Oh, it's great to see a new blog entry from you! What a beautiful goat. How are things going with the rabbits?

Jewel said...

Hi Mich and Lucky Robin, it's nice to hear from you! I have missed writing and connecting with you all. I have more time to read and write in the Fall, Winter and early Spring months. This is also the time of year I get more creative in the kitchen :)
And Mich, goats are the best farm animal!
Lucky Robin, a rabbit post coming very soon.