Got Milk?

Sharon May 18th, 2010

Well, milk goats, that is.  You know you want them – cute, no bigger than a dog, gives the perfect amount of sweet milk for a family, fits in a backyard beautifully. friendly, cuddly…

If my rhapsodizing about Nigerian Dwarf Goats over the years has given you the yen, those in the Northeast might be interested in the new crop of babies at our friends’ place.  We bought our goats from Jamey and Carol at Weathertop Farm, and besides beautiful, healthy animals, they’ve provided endless kindness and support.  If you are looking for baby goats or milkers, you should check them out.   There will be more pictures of the new crop of babies (including Fantasia’s triplets, born when we were visiting on Saturday) by Thursday, so check back.  

We’ll probably have goats for sale later this summer and in the fall, but if you are looking to take advantage of the summer’s grass, definitely check them out!

Sharon

11 Responses to “Got Milk?”

  1. Ailsa Ek says:

    I want a couple badly. Unfortunately, my neighbors do not, and in my town that means I can’t have them either.

  2. michelle says:

    you are speaking to me as one of the goat keeper wannabes. I am just having a problem with committing to the 2x/day milking all winter.
    I also have opportunity to purchase healthy, bred saanens in the fall. I really enjoy the dwarfs though. How hard are they to milk w/ such small teats?

  3. NM says:

    You Have given me the yen. But I’m violently lactose intolerant. So I’m going to go sulk.

  4. Jamey says:

    @ Ailsa – yes, everybody should be very careful and examine the zoning where you live before buying. One of our customers last year had to give up her buck because she was below the minimum number of acres for livestock (yes, 70 lb goats are livestock, apparently). Her neighbors are totally cool with her raising does, but she still fears that the zoning official will drop by and make her move the goats regardless.

    @ Michelle – if you kept the moms with the babies (from those bred Saanens) you could milk 1x/day through the summer/fall/winter and then dry her off for the next kidding. We raise our kids with the dams all day, separate at night and then milk in the morning. Half as much milk, but the babies benefit and we get overloaded with milk (Nigerian dwarf goats give 1.5 – 2 quarts per day on 2x/day milking). Tiny teats can be a problem, but good breeders are pushing those upward. But even on small ones you can use hand-milkers (like the Udderly EZ or more recent, cheaper versions) and easily get that milk.

    And thanks to Sharon for the shout-out. It is currently the crazy time of year for us – babies are popping out left and right. But they are sooooo cute that it is all worth it.

  5. Sharon says:

    Thanks for answering questions, Jamey – and thanks for the beautiful goats. Sending more people your way is the least I can do.

    I don’t personally find milking the small teats all that difficult, and neither does Eric – I have carpal tunnel syndrome from too much writing ;-) , and while lots of milking on the harder milkers does aggravate it, milking larger goats has aggravated it too ;-) .

    I do think there’s a real advantage to a manual milker like Jamey mentions – partly to reduce pressure on your hands, but mostly because it means almost anyone can milk with very little practice or training, which makes life easier when you are first getting to know the process, and also makes it much easier to find goat care people.

    Sharon

  6. michelle says:

    Thank You, Sharon & Jamey. Getting some good info gives me a bit more confidence to dare to get the goats. We still have a lot to get ready. Meanwhile ther is much to learn.
    the idea of the manual milker is very appealing.
    Can you recommend any other good goat books besides these:
    Natural Goat Care, The Udder Real Thing: Goats Produce Too, & the Home Creamery.

    Do either of you use an herbal worming system as designed by Molly’s Herbls? I am using it on my German shepherd after a nasty bout with whip worms & it seems very effective so far (6 weeks now). I am hoping it is successful in preventing worms with goats too. That is another of my concerns!

  7. Sharon Astyk says:

    Michelle, we’re using the Molly’s herbals wormer, and have had good results with it, and I believe Jamey and Carol are also still doing the same. The only thing it didn’t work for was meningeal worm, which Selene had (you saw her right afterwards), which if the goats get it (and it is rare, last year was unusually wet and problematic) must be treated with chemical wormers. But that’s only if it becomes a problem for you, and I know many goat keepers who have dozens of goats and have never had a case.

    I like Storey’s guide to raising goats, and I like Juliet de Baralcli-Levy’s _Herbal Handbook for Barn and Stable_ for natural goat care. Honestly, though, I think the Fiasco farms website is a better resource than any book I’ve read.

    Sharon

  8. madison says:

    OMG, those goats are the cutest little babies. How I wish I could have one, but alas, they don’t fit into trailers, lol.

  9. madison says:

    However, we are moving to Colorado, maybe we’ll find a place near a farm and go borrow goats instead :)

  10. michelle says:

    Today was my first milking experience! I am taking care of a Nigerian doe for a few months & she is in milk. Her owner is a teen girl who had to separate her from her kids to wean them. she doesn’t care if I milk her or dry her off. since I am very inept at getting the milk out quickly & it’s also the does first experience w/ milking, she will probably be drying off if I don’t get one of those EZ milkers. Wish me luck, I asked for one on CraigsList.
    This is my summer project; learning to milk (& feed & house & care for) a goat. I don’t think I would take it on or even stick with it if I hadn’t been influenced & encouraged here.
    I have to report that while most of the milk went elsewhere, some of it did get into the bowl.

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