For the first time in several years, we have a small abundance of milk, and we are absolutely loving it!!

After the baby goats were born, Sara proved to be a great mom.  She was very watchful and protective of her kids, and her and the doeling, Lilly, bonded fiercely.  As nature intended, Lilly sticks right with mom, and only nurses from her.  Dayjay, the buckling, on the other hand, is a typical adolescent boy!  He makes his rounds, accepting milk from whomever will give it to him.  He knows who mom is, but, for whatever reason, Lilac took a liking to him and lets him nurse freely.  And, he eats a LOT!  He weighs over 20 pounds at this point–still not quite twice what Lilly weighs. 

Lilly and Sara

 

Dayjay and Lilac

I was beginning to get frustrated with the milking process, as, twice a day, I would milk Lilac, and twice a day, I would never get more than about half a cup of milk.  Most times, I would get a few squirts and just wind up feeding it to the chickens.  Fearing Sara would not increase her production properly, I began milking her once a day as well.  Still, I never got more than a cup from both goats combined.  The kids were obviously thriving, so I knew both goats were producing, but I had no idea how much was being produced.  I was also concerned that with just one baby on each goat, they might produce milk unevenly in the 2 sides of the udder.  I tried keeping a check on that, but it was tough with so little milk in either side. 

Finally, when the kids were 2 weeks old, I seperated them one night, putting the babies in the brooder pen with the young chicks, and leaving both does in the goat pen.  It went much smoother than I anticipated.  I had expected noise and crying all night from somebody, but as it turned out, the babies only cried when they were alone.  As long as they were together, they were perfectly content.  For the first time, it was really nice to see Lilly warm up to us.  She has always tended to be on the timid, shy side like her mom.  Once she was on her own, though, she livened up, and even got friendly.   They just curled up for the night in the back of the brooder crate, and never made a peep all night.  Sara quit crying as soon as the babies quit.  Lilac, interestingly enough, made the most racket.  She cried for a bout 30 minutes or so before settling down.  All in all, I would say it went very smoothly. 

When Mom's away, the kids will play!

The next morning, I found the milk!  I milked Lilac first, since that what she was accustomed to, and she gave me almost a full quart!  She hasn’t done that since the first week I got her!  Then, it was Sara’s turn.  Oh, when I touched that poor girl’s udder, I felt really badly for her.  Her udder looked painfully engorged!  I couldn’t even milk her normally she was so full.  I had to literally use two fingers and just squeeze out whatever flowed into the teats until she was emptied enough to milk the proper way.  It was everything I’d read about, and I have to admit, I found great satisfaction in the process working correctly!  Sara wound up giving me a nearly 1/2 gallon!  Now THAT made my day!  But then, I’m pretty easy to please.

3/4 gallon of milk from one session!

So, that is now our routine.  I seperate the kids around 7 p.m., and put them in the brooder pen with some water and hay or grain to nibble on for the night (they don’t really eat solids yet, but they like to nibble at it).  Around 8 in the morning, I milk the does, and then put the babies back with them for the day.  I get about 3/4 of a gallon of milk each morning, and I am only milking once a day until we take the next step. 

3/4 gallon…not bad for a once-a-day milking from a first freshener and a first-freshener who has already been milked through for a year!  And finally, I have the luxury and surplus I need to make all the delicious yogurt and chevre (goat cheese) that we can eat!

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