So I know you have all been eagerly awaiting details on the newest members of our family.
Or perhaps you couldn’t care less.
In any case, we have taken the gigantic leap into self-sufficiency by purchasing our very own, fresh, raw milk suppliers. Although S still won’t admit they are rather cute, I am quite fond of these girls already (though I confess, my mostly-earless doe is still pretty funny looking IMHO)! Our leap into goat ownership started when I had to make 2 trips to completely different areas to pick them up….in my minivan. Of course, we did what we could and lined the van with a tarp in hopes of containing some messes.
So, let me introduce you to my does:
Sara is a 3/4 LaMancha and 1/4 Saneen cross. I got her from a raw-milk dairy up north. I liked their set-up, the obvious care the goats received, and the assistance offered by the owner. I also like the option of using their absolutely GORGEOUS Alpine buck next fall. Sara is right about a year old, and very timid. The dairy owner typically sells all kids from her first fresheners, but for whatever reason, this one didn’t get handled much and wasn’t friendly. No one had purchased her as a result. I got to see her high-producing grandma, and she looked healthy, but I wasn’t able to get close enough for a thorough inspection. She seemed good though, and she had been bred to a full Saneen buck. She should kid in early May. I have been working with her every day, trying to get her used to me approaching her, handling her, etc. She seems to be doing well. I haven’t trained a timid goat before, so I am using a lot of my horse-training methods, such as approach-retreat. It seems to be working. In just a few days, she will eat grain out of my hand, allow me to approach and pet (sometimes), allow the kids to approach and pet (sometimes), and is starting to greet me at the gate for her grain. She is still hesitant to allow me to approach her directly, but once I do get close enough to touch her, she is much calmer than previously. I was also finally able to get her collars straightened out–I removed the old, slightly small one, and adjusted the new, bigger one to fit her. Now, I just need to get the confidence to trim her extra long toes!
Lilac is a Nigerian Dwarf/Alpine cross, roughly 2 years old. She was conceived at a top raw-milk dairy in CO, when her Alpine father jumped the fence and met her mother. Apparently, due to the size difference, no one thought anything had happened. Then, 5 months later, Lilac was born, looking just like a small Alpine. Based on my research, her father is supposedly from excellent milk lines, with very high production. I first met Lilac when I took a goat milking class. The owner/teacher of the class loved her, but had decided to sell because her teats were so small (typical of a first-freshener, or a goat that has delivered babies for the first time). She just didn’t want to deal with it since she had other, older does. She seemed to be offering a good price, so we bought her. My biggest concern was that she kidded last spring, so she has been in milk for almost a year, and they were only milking her once a day. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so in the hopes of increasing her production, I immediately started her on twice-a-day milkings. In her first 24 hours home, she gave me just shy of a half-gallon ( don’t have a pound scale yet, sorry). Now, while I am noticing her evening milk production is already increasing by almost double, after just 5 days, her overall daily production seems to have decreased to about just over a full quart per day. She has proven to be a real sweetheart. No doubt our talker, she loves attention, knows her way around the milk stand, and is perfect for us beginners.
So that’s our goaty girls.
In other news, we also have aquired 5 turkey poults. Although I would prefer heritage breeds, this was the best we could do this year. I got 3 broad-breasted bronze, and 2 broad-breasted whites. They are about a week old already, so hopefully the critical timeframe has passed. They seem to be thriving now.
Between the baby rabbits, the turkey poults, and the new goats, I think the kids (OK, and me) are in heaven around here. We are having so much fun with all these critters, and I think we are just getting started. We are expecting our chicks to arrive in about a week and a half, and hope to have another litter of bunnies in about a month.
We are blessed, life is good, and we are looking forward to an abundance of meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs as the year goes on!