* Warning: This post will be full of goat speak. For anyone who may be interested in learning the lingo I'm learning, I've linked the terminology to sites explaining their meanings*
Today completes three weeks of milking my first freshener Darla. The three weeks was completed in Darla's cantankerous style. In fact I would say this morning's milking was the most frustrating of all the milking days I've had thus far.
I purchased a goat hobble last week since Darla's kicking habit doesn't seem to be going away. She's a kicky milker. Holding one hind leg with one hand and milking with one hand works, but takes much longer. On the plus side, my deltoids are getting a nice cut from the isometric workout their receiving holding one kicking goat leg in place with one hand and milking with the other. But any who, milking with one hand isn't ideal so I hoped the goat hobble would do the trick and keep my girl from kicking. It didn't. This goat could be a ballerina. She kicks both back legs up in the air, standing on her front legs in a near hand or hoof stand. And the unsteadiness of falling off the milk stand when she does this doesn't detour her at all. She's an acrobat and stubborn! This makes for an eventful milking.
She may be determined to not let me milk her for more than 30 seconds (which is what she does with her kids) but I'm even more determined to not let her win. It's gonna be a battle and it may take the entire 305 milking days a doe is said to have, but by golly, I'm not giving up!
This morning's shenanigans had me covered in about a half quart of milk before the not-so-pretty milking was over. Whoever said milking is a peaceful experience wasn't milking my Darla.
I'm currently torn between my two favorite herd names. I have to pick one to officially register my goats and since I've found some ADGA members who are willing to write a letter so I can register Darla as Native on Appearance (since apparently she is not registrable with her sire's papers... something I'm still working on investigating) I can at least use Darla to produce official purebred Nubians in the future (her great grandkids can be registered as purebred). Depending on how her daughters udders look using Duke's (my buck) good milking line I may keep breeding her to him. If they are not correct like their mom's then I'll just breed Darla for the milk production at home. Anway, the two front-runners for my herd name are:
Yellow Door Ranch
Lil' Toad Farm
I really like Yellow Door Ranch. I recently painted my front door a bright yellow. The pop of color is something of a style I've come to really be drawn to. I've always been a yellow fan. I remember as a kid telling my parents that when I grew up I wanted a yellow house with a wrap-around porch and a white picket fence. Yellow Door Ranch just has a nice ring to it. But Lil' Toad Farm is near to the heart.
If I close my eyes I can hear my mom softly saying, "You'll always be my Lil' Toad." I can also hear her calling me through the house in a more urgent manner which meant the "Lil'" fell off and I heard, "TOAD!" This was usually followed by some instructions such as, "Can you run over to the neighbors and see if they have a roll of toilet paper we can borrow? We're out!"
When we moved into this place we had several wildlife visitors: Palo Verde Beatles, desert rabbits, coyotes and desert toads. Desert toads were one of the first to show up at our back door and it was at that time that I first thought of Lil' Toad Farm.
The nostalgia for Lil' Toad Farm weighs heavy in my decision, but according to my 9 year old, it's not fair, cause then it will sound like it's my farm only and not the whole family's. Hmm. Good point. But, since the head of the house weighed in and likes Lil' Toad Farm the best, ownership is mutual.
I just can't let Yellow Door Ranch go though! Uh! Decisions. Decisions.
The average milk production for a dairy goat is 1500 pounds in 305 days. I thought it strange that milk is measured in pounds when I first started learning this home dairy thing. I've always been used to the gallon or half gallon as the appropriate measurement for milk. But, in the dairy goat world, pounds is proper. If you swear you're old nanny out back gives you gallons you probably have some missing front teeth, a dozen or more broken down cars on your lot, several goats standing atop those cars and you milk your "nanny" straight into an empty, not-so-clean coffee can and swear that that floaty stuff on top grows hair on your chest. Yeah. Don't measure goat milk in gallons or you'll be ostracized as a backwards hick for sure.
That said, I calculated my doe's production thus far and she's producing at a rate that puts her around 500 pounds per year. Sounds bad, but actually it's pretty good considering I'm only milking her once a day. Most people milk their goats every 12 hours. So if I doubled her output, assuming she'd put out the same amount twice daily, she'd be producing about 1000 pounds a year. That's pretty darn good for a 1 year old first time freshener with a novice milk maid like me milking her.
Darla's udder is not prize worthy. And she'll be considered a "grade" goat because I can't prove her lineage. And she's a kicky milker. But even still, she's teaching me tons and despite frustrating mornings like these I'm having a great time being a milk maid! Besides that, her milk is delicious. I've been skimming the cream off the top. When I get about a half cup of cream I'm going make some butter. Can't wait!