Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Learning the Ropes - From 2 Perspectives

New friends stopped by this morning bearing gifts while I was milking, and thank God they did! (come to visit - not necessarily bring gifts!)

Oh...Wait... Did I forget to mention that THIS is who I saw out in the field yesterday afternoon?!

This picture doesn't do him justice. He has a very unique black and white spotted neck. He is #12 this year and I'm not feeling very clever. I sure could use some help naming him. Any suggestions?

Where was I? Oh yes, my friends stopped by this morning while I was milking. They also have a dream of living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, and are beginning to raise milk goats too, so this was the perfect opportunity to show them how to milk.

OOPS - In her defense - she's on the wrong side of the milking stand and because it was an impromptu visit I had nothing larger available for her to milk into. But I'm certain that with a little more practice she'll be a pro!

   I finished up milking my four regulars and then it was time to bring in the two new moms. Again, thank God for these friends! The first goat came into the milking stall fairly easily. We had milked her last night after Bob got home from work for the first time without difficulty and she did very well this morning. It was nice to have a pair of hands to hold her once she became tired of the feed while I finished up. The second goat, Boar Mama, the black and white mother of the twins, was a bit more difficult. She had not been bottle raised, which makes all the difference, and has always been leery and skittish. She had triplets last year and I just didn't want to mess with her then, so she nursed her babies, who also grew to be people shy. This year I've decided that to continue to live on our farm a goat must be desirable, friendly and provide sustenance, so all of the babies will be bottle fed and all the nannies milked. Boar Mama is food driven, which will eventually work to our favor, but not today. It took all three of us to coax her up onto the milking stand and hold her there while I milked like a madwoman! Her teats are teeny tiny so that didn't help either. On a milking machine it won't be a problem, but a "two or three finger milker" is labor intensive. I definitely prefer a teat I can grab with my whole hand!
     Anyway without their help I'd probably still be out there. It's so important to milk out new moms completely and quickly after giving birth so they won't become engorged, and so that they will produce the maximum amount of colostrum for their babies.
    Now it's noon, the morning chores are done, the garden watered, the goats milked, the 4 newest babies fed and I have an hour until it's time to feed the other 8!

Gotta go plant something!

1 comment:

  1. Marcy, I love you! You're so awesome! I'm so proud of your new blog, too.