Monday, March 23, 2009

Goats Revisited

When we first moved to the foothills, we decided to get some goats to help us with brush control. My husband's family used goats to reduce the fire load on the property when he was growing up, so I thought this would be easy. Maybe it would have been, except that we got two escape artist ninja goats from hell. These kinders (pygmy x nubian) performed feats of escape that I would not have believed if I hadn't been secretly watching to see how they were getting out. And did I mention the screaming? Nubians have a propensity for screaming. Ad nauseum. Needless to say, they didn't last long on our property. After several threats of being whole roasted in the front yard we found them a new home.

Now, better educated about goat breeds and having better fencing, we're trying goats again. Nice goats who respect fencing, eat brush AND produce milk. No, I've never milked before, and bets have been placed for how long it'll take for my husband to have to milk. However, today has been day three of the great milking adventure and we're all improving - technique and speed on my part, and patience and calm on the part of the goat.

We got two goats, Maharani (brown) and Pi (black). You always want more than one goat as they are herd animals and need the companionship. Maharani is a two year old mini mancha doe, purchased from a breeder in Redwood Valley. My friend got Maharani's son, a two-month old buck.
The same friend has loaned me Pi, also a mini mancha, to be friends with Maharani. Pi is a one-year old doeling who will be bred in the fall when she comes into heat. This is perfect, as Maharani will probably be drying up about the time Pi begins to produce milk.

Mini Manchas are a smaller variety of La Manchas, created by breeding Dwarf Nigerians to La Manchas, producing an awesome smaller dairy goat. I'm getting a pint each time I milk Maharani, which is twice each day. The milk is sweet and beautifully white. The next step will be trying to produce yogurt and maybe some soft cheese. Mmm, chevré...

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