Othertimes, it can be really bad for the waistline–in either direction, depending on whether you are the producing doe or the consuming human.
We are so thrilled to have milk again. I know that sounds funny to you folks who buy from the store. However, if you are like us, and your children react to store-bought milk, meaning you are dependant on your animals, you gain a whole new perspective and appreciation for your food. Our dry spell really taught us to be thankful for God’s provision.
Lilac is such a good girl. I wasn’t sure how she would take to milking again after her 2.5 month break, but once the milk started flowing, she has never kicked or even stomped once in protest. She is used to our current schedule of pulling her babies off for the night, and tucking them away into our garage. I have to imagine she enjoys her sleep as much as I do. Then, I go out and feed in the morning, set up the milk stand, and let her out of the pen. She is always standing there waiting and yelling at me to hurry things up.
I open the gate, and Lilac immediately runs around to the milk shed, waits for me to open the door for her, then hops up onto the stand. She knows the routine well.
I knew when I bought her that she had already been milked through for a year, had been almost dried up twice, had settled into a once-a-day milking routine, and by the time I got her, she was producing around a quart a day. Between me increasing the milking schedule to twice a day, and her adopting and co-parenting one of Sara’s kids last year, her production increased a bit to about a quart and a half. Thus, I was eager to see what it would be like on her second freshening. I was hoping for about a half gallon per day. Then we decided to sell her and Sara, and I’m so thankful I pre-sold her, or I might be tempted to keep her now that I have seen her potential. Not only does she have the best attitude, she has a gorgeous udder that sits high and carries the milk very well, the milk itself is delicious, and you should see what she produces!! I totally underestimated her!
Lilac’s milk is rich, creamy, and delicious. Because she is 1/2 Nigerian, her butterfat content is fairly high–I would estimate in the 5% or 6% range. I have made butter out of her whole milk. It does our toddler great, but does absolutely nothing for my waistline!!
From the time I began milking her this season, she was consistently giving me around 3.5 lbs. (6 cups) at her once-daily milking, for about 4 weeks. Then, she began peaking. Each day, her production climbed until I was geting 4-4.5 lbs each morning. Then yesterday, we reached the 5 lb. mark! I had to use 2 jars to store it all! In one twelve hour period, this little mini-girl produced 9 cups of milk! I realize this won’t last forever since she is in her peak right now, but still. I am thoroughly impressed. I went to a lot of effort and paid good money for purebreds with good potential and genetics for producing around 8-10 lbs. per day, and here I have a crossbred, unregistered, miniature, that eats about 2/3 what the full size girls eat, and produces just as much! Go figure!! I sold her due to the simple fact that I am not crazy over her teat length–literally the ONLY thing I don’t like about milking her. I have created this ideal in my mind (based on Sara’s), and that is what I am aiming for in my buying and breeding program. As wonderful as Lilac is, she just doesn’t quite fit into my end goals.
Of course, there is a downside to this amazing production. Lilac is having a fit keeping weight on. She has always looked like a stocky pygmy-type goat. Then, she got a little ill right after delivery and went off her grain. She lost a few pounds, but I didn’t worry too much about it, as I figured she would re-gain after she started eating. Well, she is certainly eating well now–several pounds of grain in addition to however much alfalfa pellets, hay, and treats she can get. The way nature works though, all that protein is only encouraging her to produce more milk apparently, as (I have been keeping records) there is a distinct correlation between her feed intake and her production. In the mean time, she seems to be getting thinner by the week. She still looks great, she’s just looking more like a dairy goat than a pygmy-type goat. I never like getting to an uncomfortable point, though, so after consulting with my goat-mentor, I am going to start giving her a third treat each day of some high-quality, non-GMO, organic corn with a few other grains mixed in. It’s loaded with corn oils and carbohydrate-related nutrients which will hopefully not encourage more production, but rather a bit more weight gain.
So, I have a new experiment to learn from. There is certainly never a dull moment around here!!