When I first became enamored with the idea of having our own dairy animal, what I really wanted was a Jersey cow. Which is probably my sister’s fault, because she had a jersey cow at the time and I was quite enthralled with the idea of unlimited amounts of fresh milk for cheesemaking, butter, etc. As you probably know, cows are rather large and, quite literally, a big commitment. I think we decided a cow was a bad idea because of the price tag. Looking back, that makes me laugh because we have at least one cow’s worth of money tied up in goats, after a year down the road. I soon realized I didn’t need “a” goat, because goats don’t seem to come in singles.
Since my fantasy Jersey cow was out of the picture, I began to notice that there were a lot of people talking about these wonderful little nigerian dwarf dairy goats. After reading all about the amazing rich, creamy, and sweet milk these goats give, I took it upon myself to start stalking craigslist for goats. Of course I found some. And we went and got two, one four year old Annabel and her aged pal DeeDee.
At first I thought I should get a doe in milk, because after all that is why I wanted to get goats, right? Now I am thankful that we did NOT do that. Adjusting to taking care of animals and getting them used to their new home was enough work for the first few months.
You can’t get a doe to freshen without having kids though, and soon we were on the look out for a buck. We bought “Sunny” from Swiftwind Farm, and were finally ready to our goats into kid, and milk, production.
Still, I knew my little herd would not be complete until I had two more does. After more searching, I was delighted to find two beautiful little doelings for sale that seemed to be exactly what I wanted. Butterscotch and Mocha fit in to our little herd pretty well, although the guy in charge of the orchard (my husband) didn’t really appreciate Mocha’s deer-like jumping abilities. That and her deer-like browsing habits were a bad combination for the young apple trees.
We’re almost a year into our adventure. Annabel has had her first kids for us. Twin doelings! And I’ve been able to learn how to milk her without the pressure of having to get her completely emptied out, because she has her kids. This is good except for the fact that she has been very grudging about giving milk to anybody but her kids.
Two months into this goat milking thing, we have been able to get a taste of some of that really good, rich milk from our first milk goat to freshen here on our very own little farm. I have high hopes for lots of cute kids and fresh milk to come!