our motto is: make a ruckus
Day 1: We were optimistic. Excited. The goaties, less so. They wanted to eat their grain and be done with the titty squeezing. They stomped, they kicked, or tried to, they laid down. We swore, we giggled, we squoze titties the best we could and shot milk all over the place. Things were slightly out of control. It was a small miracle we didn’t lose the milk to poo hoof in the pan. All told, from all three mama goats, we got about 2 teaspoons of milk, and it took us an hour and a half to do so. Laughing was really all there was left to do.
Day 2: Hank brought out his homemade titty sucker. It didn’t work at all. We went for it by hand again. I giggled more for sure. One of us on each side, each milking a titty because we definitely aren’t talented enough to go for two at once and we only have as long as the grain lasts to squeeze it out. After that, the goat calls done. My fingers seemed to be getting the hang of it a little better. More milk went in the pan. Less went elsewhere. Total milk, maybe a tablespoon.
We all read as much as we could to find out what it was suppose to be like. Hank showed us a video of his titty sucker on a Nigerian Dwarf working like a charm, also of note, this goat was happy to just stand there without any food. I read somewhere this lady milks her six Nigerian Dwarfs in 30 minutes (for all of them, not each) and gets a quart from each.
We’re learning a lot about what we would do differently in the future. For example, we hate feeding them grain, as thats the epitome of junk food for them, but its what we started out with, and sadly, its what they were used to. So we ordered Alfalfa pellets that we are going to transition them to instead. Much better for them, and for us, when we finally get to consume the milk.
Also, we would choose to have Spring babies next time instead of Fall babies. Its easier on the babies because the weather is better, and us as milkers, and there is more food and forage for the mommas, which we think logically will equal more milk. Not to mention that we would be able to start milking immediately, which should also make a big difference. This time around, we didn’t have our shit together to start milking until the babies were already 8 weeks old I think. Whoops.
If we were patient, we would wait to try our milking operation again in Spring of 2014, but odds are instead that we’ll be looking to pick up another mom in milk this Spring so we can keep the adventure rolling.
In the meantime, our goaties are happy in their new barn space, and they seem to like having the garden pasture to munch in all day. They have little paths through the briars and they are mowing down the honeysuckle growing all over the fence.
Plus, we just built them a fenced paddock area directly off the barn so that they don’t have to get shut inside at night and wait for us to come down in the morning to let them out. It’s incredibly fun spending time with the goaties every morning and every afternoon, socializing. Loving on them, teaching them their names, watching them do tricks.