We are blessed!
^^ Noah, holding one of our ducklings. ^^
For the longest time, I have wanted milk goats. I think I even blogged about this years ago. I want to be able to have fresh milk to give all of the kids, especially the babies who drink so much milk all of the time. I just hate the thought that I do not know what is in our milk from the store. Plus, I think raw milk is just better for you.
We don't have enough room for any cows, but definitely can afford to take care of goats.
I kept searching Craigslist, but couldn't find any goats in milk. And any of the ones I did find were really, really expensive.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from my local MOPS group (Mothers of preschoolers), told me she had a friend who was selling two goats- one who was currently pregnant, and the other was in milk....for only $150.00 each. One was a Toggenburg, and the other was a Saanen. I was ecstatic and picked them up that very day!
^^ In milk^^
I was able to get three to four quarts a day from the Toggenburg. This is perfect for us! And the milk is delicious- and in my opinion, tastes better than store bought milk. There have been about two times that the milk has had a slight "goaty" aftertaste- but REALLY mild. The rest of the time, it just tastes like milk, and you can't taste a difference. It's SO good. The kids love it. I love being able to give it to them. And I love saving the money! We were buying a gallon of milk every 1-2 days, and that adds up!!
Our Saanen goat had her baby about 5 days ago. The baby is beautiful....so sweet. Took to nursing right away and is very healthy. This was the goat's "first freshening", and she did wonderfully. The birth was very quick and easy. No problems at all.
Here is a video of right after she had the baby- Annah was very impressed!
Two days later, I noticed our Nubian goat that we have had for a few years....she looked like she was about to have a baby.
Honestly, we had thought for the longest time that she was infertile- because it had been so long and she never had had a baby. And since we never had a calculated breeding, but she lived with our billy goat, we had no way to know she was pregnant before that- because you really can't tell on a goat until they're about to have their baby. Most of the time, anyway. But I was leaving our driveway, looking out, and I noticed that our nubian had AWFULLY huge udders and was sort of hunching over. I thought, "She's going to have a baby!"....so we went and got her a collar so we could transfer her to the fence with the other moms. By the time we got back home, she had HAD her surprise baby! WOW. Now, I had three nanny goats, instead of just one- and two bucklings!! And the nannies will all be able to produce milk for us.
The Saanen goat, (I should mention, her name is "Valentine"), had uneven udders because the kid was only eating from one side every day- so we were able to get about a quart or two per day from her, just from the one side. That was awesome. But eventually, the kid started eating from both sides, and I stopped milking her for now. I only had wanted to relieve her engorgement.
The nubian (her name is "Skittles" or "Sparkles", depending on which person you ask), was not nursing her baby at all for a while. The first morning when I came to check on the poor buckling, he was skin and bones, and laying down as if he were dead. The mother seemed as if she wanted to do something with him, but when he would go up to her udder, she would kick him. So I decided to bottle feed him. I started milking her to give the milk to him. I got about 2 quarts a day from her in this time.
Bottle feeding him was NOT easy. He did not know how to suck. He would lay there, as if he were lifeless, and I would hold the bottle up to the side of his mouth and basically pour the warm milk into his mouth. About a cup per feeding- four times a day. For three days this continued.
I thought i was going to have to do this every day for the next two months.
You can see a video of one of my attempts to feed him here:
But on the fourth day, (by the time I was considering using a feeding tube/syringe) I walked up to the shed to see a wonderful sight- there was Skittles the Nubian, feeding her baby boy herself. And he was really eating away too, very enthusiastically! Now, instead of laying under the heat lamp all day and appearing limp and lifeless, he is a very healthy, energetic little buckling. I am very thankful.
So we had gotten up to 6 quarts a day at one point, but now are back to about 3-4 per day, until the baby goats are weaned, which should be in a couple of months. I really look forward to that time, because we could end up getting up to 3 gallons per day, if the other two will one day milk as good as our Toggenburg (Elizabeth). Then we can venture into cheese and soap making.
We just bought two more baby doelings and they are just precious! We bought them for our billy goat, so he wont be lonely and can breed them once they are old enough. Our Billy goat (Houdini):
These goats are weaned, but one of them (the littler one) likes to use a bottle as a treat. Check out this video of her absolutely loving the bottle: