Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Aspiring Farmer Blog
The past few days have flown by. We've been busy putting up fence, building a temporary goat house and getting a goat! We weren't planning on getting a goat this weekend, but a confluence of events led to us milking a goat at home in the dark last night and waking up to milk her again this morning.
Last week we were online looking at goats from nearby farms. We happened upon some goats at a place in the neighborhood. When I say "neighborhood" I just mean anywhere within a 30 minute drive of us. They were registered, came from good milking lines, and there was even a doe in milk that lost her kid and needed a good home. Perfect for us, we need some milk!
So we emailed a bit with the owner and learned that her and her husband are out of the state/country on work trips and another person is dropping by each day to feed the goats/chickens/horses/dogs, etc. She asked if we could schedule a time to meet with the animal caretaker as it might be a week or two before they're back. "That's great" we say to ourselves, "someone that can take care of dairy animals nearby, maybe we'll need her for a day or two in the future". The next day Sweetbreads arranged a time to meet with her.
When Sweetbreads showed up the caretaker explained that she doesn't actually milk the animals, she just feeds them. The kids are raised on the does and the does are dried off after natural weaning. "But what about the doe that lost her kid?", Sweetbreads asks, "Do you milk her?". "Well, I don't milk her, so she hasn't been milked since for about a week", came the response. Upon closer viewing one side of the udder was swollen and it appeared to be the early symptoms of mastitis. After a few quick phone calls and some trips to the store for various milking supplies (homemade teat dip, etc) there Sweetbreads was, milking out the poor doe. During our many trips out to other people's goat dairies we had heard that milking out a doe with symptoms of mastitis was critical.
Oh, did I mention Sweetbreads had never milked an animal before! I guess it was probably the best way to learn. This poor doe that lost her kid and is all bagged up and congested on one side. Gotta learn quick in that situation and I was so proud of Sweetbreads, it just seemed to come naturally.
After we explained the situation to the owners they were so grateful for Sweetbreads' attentiveness and care that they offered to give us the doe! We were really excited, so we set to building an area for her to browse and live until we get the real goat housing up. We cleared out half of our barn/garage, build a wood frame to bisect the structure, put up interior walls and some doors, built a big fenced off area outside the barn and got our first water trough and other supplies at Tractor Supply. Within a couple days we were ready to go!
It was a whirlwind, but by yesterday afternoon we had the doe and a wether friend of hers unloaded and happily settled down in her new home! Phew, quite a goat adventure.
Now back to work on Monday. Wonder what next weekend will entail...?
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