Sorry for the delayed absence.  We go through very busy spells around here, so even if I find the time to blog, I just don’t have the energy to do so.  I am starting to feel like a farmer–going to bed shortly after the kids and getting up shortly after the sun rises (OK, so not really…I sleep every moment I can).  Anyway, I thought I would give you a little goat milk update. 

Since we harvested Dayjay, the milk supply has really shown up!  Lilly still gets seperated at night, and stays with mom, Sara, in the morning.  Now that no one is nursing off Lilac (who “adopted” and co-parented Sara’s buckling, Dayjay), Lilac is producing very well. 

Lilac before milking

Lilac is now giving me about a quart in the morning and another quart in the evening–almost 1/2 gallon a day from a mini-Alpine who freshened over a year ago!  Not a bad deal! 

Lilac after milking.

I am excited to get her bred for next year.  With her quart-full udder, it is still very loose.  She appears to have a beautiful udder, with great attachments, so I am very curious to see how much she produces with a second freshening.

Sara has really thrilled me with her production as well!

Sara before milking

I am getting almost 1/2 gallon from my morning milking of Sara, and almost a pint at my night milking (after her doeling Lilly spends the day with her, nursing).  Again, I would say that isn’t a bad deal for a first freshener!

Sara after milking

Sara’s udder is quite taught in the morning, with the 1/2 gal milking, and it is very firm even after milking–hence the reason you can’t tell a big difference in her udder after milking.  She definitely has the production lines, and she has an OK udder.  I am not thrilled with her attachments, as she tends to have a “pocket” up front when she is full.  I have a lot to say about Sara and Lilac seperately and specifically, so I will do another post later about each. 

To summarize, though, I am blessedly receiving almost a gallon of milk a day right now from 2 goats, about 7 weeks after the one freshened.  It is so exciting for me.  Based on my research, it sounds as though many folks in our shoes often get “stuck” with poor milkers as their first goats.  I think our research payed off, and we were blessed with some excellent milk lines!  I am also interested to see if Lilly improves on her mom, assuming we are able to breed her late this fall.  With all this milk, I have been able to make lots of chevre’ and yogurt, plus I tried my hand at goat butter and squeaky cheese curds.  I am able to give the poultry about all the whey they can stand, and even the goats have enjoyed a taste of it every now and then. 
Oh, and both girls got haircuts!  Once again, I was all about being “natural” with the goats.  I thought those close-shave jobs on show-goat udders looked ridiculous!  Then, after weeks of having my fingers get all tangled in that udder hair while milking, constantly pulling the hair, and having to frequently brush the hair to get the straw and other residues out, I gave it up.  Sara, in particular, had gobs of long hair all over the front and middle of her udder!  I gave the girls a shave, and really kicked myself for not doing it sooner!  Now I know why they shave those girls’ udders!  Milking became so much easier and more pleasant for both me and the girls after that!!
As far as Lilly, we will soon be headed back to Red Gate for a little vacation.  To ease our care-takers workload, I have decided to continue allowing Lilly to nurse during the day while we are away.  As soon as we return, though, I am going to attempt to wean Lilly by seperating her from Sara for a month or so.  The plan is to rotate her and Sara into the brooder pen, so both will have companionship from Lilac periodically.  I am hoping Sara will benefit from a little alone-time, as I need to her to look forward to seeing me a bit more.  She still is quite standoff-ish, and I am hoping having her seperated for a while will cause her to be more excited about my presence when I am around.  We’ll see.