Monday, April 11, 2011

Puttin' The Milk In The Bucket!

 This has been a reconsidering year for goats here. When I first started out with goats I thought 2 would supple what we needed and doelings for sale and bucklings for meat. Well I ended up with about 10 does last year that I thought was what I wanted.. Then we lost Dottie due to Horns on a wether, Abby went to be milked by machine, April was culled, Sasha too, Then the loss of Mariah... I seriously got to the point where I was thinking do I even want goats?? Which was silly of course! While I could part with some, others no way! I was just overwhelmed with everything.  So after those 5 were gone and Dollie found a new home too. I sold most of our bottle babies. I found myself looking forward to milking again!
 Its been an odd year with the way milking is going. Hope has always had a nice rounded udder this year she is lopsided. Sunshine is doing her usual putting lots of milk in the bucket and not keeping enough for her to stay healthy. Sissy is fitting in well and producing good too. I am getting a little over 2 1/2 gallons a day right now. which a lot of it goes to the bottle babies but 2 will be going to their new home next Monday. The other the first of May. That leaves 2 boys but I have a buyer for them when they are weaned if not sold before then.
 Now for some of the things I do to help milk production. Fennel seed and red raspberry steeped in hot water or soaked in vinegar over night  help milk production big time. Then add to water with Molasses for them to drink. Especially if they are having difficulties. These are the 2 herbs that I have used the most there is a list of others that help too.
Milk Increasing Herbs

Milk Thistle
Red Raspberry
 The only herb I know that decreases milk production is  Sage and it works really well. When I am trying to dry up a goat I give some of the dried/fresh herb and then use a few drops of the essential oils to massage into the udder.
 Another thing is the feed. I feed at least a 16% dairy ration. they get 1 pound plus another 1 lb for every 2 lbs of milk they produce. They don't eat that much though and I dump it back and save for the evening feeding. I use cattle feed because I am not paying double for dairy goat ration that is almost the exact same thing! Then they have a good grass hay mix. I have used alfalfa hay before but honestly didnt see that much difference. Of course plenty of water available.
 Of course there is grass now! Yipppeeee!!! Milk came up a little more once they were let out on the grass!
I am rotational grazing this year! Its working good so far. They are on the second paddock now. They didnt eat the first one down much  but I have found out I can keep them off one with one strand of Hot wire! The perimeter has the 4-5 strands of hot wire/barbed wire and the main divider of the first pasture has only one hot wire and 4 grounded. Its working so far. I had 4 strands of grounded and no hot nad everyone but Sissy and the babies were respecting it. Sissy had always been behind cattle panels and the babies well are babies.. I tried training her to one wire at the side and hoping she would associate it with the other. But she would just follow the babies. But now everyone is staying put.. One wire makes things much simpler for me!  
 Let us come before his presences with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods. Psalms 95:2-3


TJ said...

Thanks for all the great info! I love reading what others are doing with their goats. I am always looking for ways to improve what we are doing here!

Carol said...

Always love hearing about your goats.

Faye Henry said...

You are one smart girl:)
Now will you make feta or soap???

matty said...

Glad you are goat happy again. I spent yesterday working on a bloated baby from eating too much grass. Poor thing! She was so full of gas. I gave her 4 cc of olive oil and rubbed her sides until she had passed a lot of gas. This morning, she was dancing around in the rain! LOL

Definitely their joy and playfulness is worth the worry! LOL

Anonymous said...

Been there, done that! And we have decided not to breed goats or sell them anymore since we aren't really making any profit out of them right now.



Anonymous said...

I give Moonpie an organic Mother's Milk tea that has many of those ingredients in it. I don't even make the tea, I just open the packet and dump the contents onto her feed - and the goats LOVE it! All of the goats want Moonpie's "special" feed. It has doubled her milk production even tho she still doesn't make much.
We rotational graze the cows and goats. I'm hoping I can get the goats trained to the hot wire (it's all about height of the wire) and then I can let them out with the cows to help clean up the pastures some.

Michelle said...

Nice post & good timing for me as I am learning goat keeping. It's especially interesting to learn what we can grow for their feed & health. We have a lot of brambles including raspberry & blackberry. A few wild rose bushes too. The care that goes into goats seems overwhelming at times, but I think of getting milk from animals that are eating all these good herbs & it seems well worth it.

Do you grow all the herbs that you listed in this post?

Brenda said...

Great information! I'm glad you're happy with your goats again. :D

tree ocean said...

I am mad at my goats! They got out three times today beginning @ 7 am when I overslept...and of course that is after I fixed my electric fence Sunday so they are just letting themselves out the gates...grrrrr!!!! I might eat some goat teriyaki for supper from the farm and see if I get a taste for it, lol.

Julie/AC Farm said...

Good to know that the dairy cattle feed is close to the dairy goat feed. My favorite goat dairy feed is getting hard for me to find. I have used horse feed sometimes because it actually has more copper and selenium that the goat chow did, but the feed store was always out of that one too and it was only 14%. I will try to find the dairy cow feed to try. Still giving the fennel, anise, cumin and caraway seeds mixed in the grain and I believe it helps some. I got fresh raspberry leaves coming, but I don't want to strip them off yet or it may decrease my raspberry harvest. Wonder if blackberry leaves work?