If you’re just joining my blog, I’m doing a series of “Things I Said I’d Never Do” (and now do!). This is the second part of “I Will Never Drink Goat Milk.” In the first part, I described how we became interested in goats. Today, I’m going to give you a brief picture of how things unfolded from that first sip of goat milk from a friend to our first sip of goat milk from Russell Homestead.
After sampling our friend’s goat milk and learning that goat milk handled properly from a home dairy can taste delicious, we immediately began searching for a dairy goat. All we had to go on was that the goat milk from our friend was from a Nubian goat. So, we looked for a Nubian because we heard that different breeds of goats can have different tasting milk. Well, we knew we liked Nubian milk. The only other thing we knew is that you can’t have just one goat because it will get lonely. Okay, we thought, we really only want one, but we’ll get two (fast forward to the current time and we’ve found so many uses for the milk that 3 goats are hardly enough!).
We found a young couple who had a set of triplet goat kids – 2 does and buck. Other than looking for a Nubian, our only other preference was that we didn’t want a plain white goat. Well, this couple had an adorable brown doe and a, umm, very plain white doe. The buck was absolutely adorable – lots of color, but we knew we didn’t want a buck due to the smell. (Bucks, by the way, are the culprits for that “goaty” smell. They do some pretty odd things to earn that smell. Google that, if you’re curious. So, one way we keep our milk tasting great is to not keep a buck with our does. In fact, we don’t even own a buck.) We ended up taking the two does in September of 2013. I named them Penny & Nickel, and they are still with us today.
Now, let me insert here that, just because you buy a dairy goat doesn’t mean you have milk. In order to produce milk, a goat must give birth (a process goat people call “freshening”). Penny & Nickel had never had kids. We attempted to breed them in the fall of 2013, and waited & guessed & fussed over them all winter (a goat’s gestation is 5 months), and finally succumbed to getting them an ultrasound (yes, an ultrasound for a goat) to satisfy our curiosity. Unfortunately, they were not expecting kids, which was the fault of the buck we later learned from his owners. We were extremely disappointed because it was now the spring of 2014, and goats tend to breed in the fall. Spring is not a good time to breed goats. We knew we had to wait until the fall of 2014 to breed Penny & Nickel again.
Time for Plan B, we decided. Let’s get a goat who is “in milk,” one who has just given birth & has milk. Enter Vanilla – a Nubian/Alpine cross goat that we purchased in milk from a local family. She had never been milked; we had never milked. Interesting combination, but, at last we had our own goat milk! We were so excited because the milk was every bit as delicious as the sample from our friend. And what milk wouldn’t taste good after many months of working for it?
In the fall of 2014, we bred all three of our goats, and God blessed us with 6 goat kids in February 2015. We milked our three goats all spring and into the summer. Currently, they are reaching the end of their lactation and ready to breed again.
To sum it all up, let me just say that I never thought I would drink goat milk, but we do & I like it. I still like cow milk, too. There are days that we think our goat milk has an odd flavor – perhaps from something they ate or from not chilling it quite quickly enough. But, I think if you were milking your own cow like we are our goats, you would experience the same thing.
Has it saved us money like we thought it would? Our failed breeding in 2013 set us back, but they are catching up this year in their profitability. They are certainly saving enough money that we want to keep milking for now.
Up next in my series – “I Will Never Use Cloth Diapers.”
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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