Goat’s milk. It’s what dreams are made of. It’s everything I dreamed of when we started raising goats almost two years ago. Well, that and lots and lots of cuddles. And goat kids. Really, goats are just the best. But the reason why we started raising goats is for goat milk and goat’s milk products. About a month ago we finished drinking our last gallon of store bought milk and started milking our first freshener does, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. More on the joys of milking goats later. But ever since then, our fridge has been full of delicious goat’s milk. Once we started getting milk in larger quantities, our eyes widened with all the possibilities of what we can do with goat’s milk. Homemade greek yogurt, homemade ice cream, soap, butter, and cheese! In fact, I started a pinterest board dedicated to goat’s milk products and recipes. Honestly, I’ve been practically standing on my milk stand, preaching the benefits of goat’s milk to anyone who will listen. But let’s get right down to it. Today we’re talking about reason #459 why farming is awesome. And that’s cheese. Delicious, creamy, farmmade raw goat cheese (also known as chevre).
This past weekend two amazing miracles happened. After months of anticipation and many nights of worrying that I would screw everything up; our goats finally had their babies. Judy’s due date was on Thursday the 14th and Liza’s was on Wednesday the 20th. The day before and the day of Judy’s due date, I checked her over a few times throughout the day. I had heard that first timers usually kid a few days late anyway so I wasn’t all that concerned. But then around 5pm I went to check on her and saw Liza in the corner with babies. Well, so much for first kiddings going a few days late! Liza was six days early. This was the beginning of a whirlwind weekend and our experience of our first kidding with our first fresheners.
A few years ago, I begged and begged Dave to let me get goats. Because 1) They’re adorable and 2) goat’s milk!! But not only that, but goat cheese, goat’s milk soap, ice cream, the works! Eventually he did let me get two yearlings (Judy and Liza) and then a few months later he surprised me with two 1-week old bottle babies. Jump forward to last December when Judy and Liza were ready to be bred. They got knocked up big time by our stud buck, Ridge Runner. And now… they’re a few weeks away from their first kidding. Every time I look at their growing udders I start salivating at just the thought of the wonderful goat’s milk we’ll be getting soon. And of course, beautiful, bouncing baby goats! But the closer that we get to their kidding due date, the more and more nervous I’m getting. What do I need? Are they going to have trouble? How are they going to behave on this milk stand when they don’t even like me touching their belly?! Are the babies going to be ok? Did I feed our does correctly during their pregnancy? How do I actually milk a goat? Am I going to screw all of this up? I’m not going to lie to you guys, I’m really nervous.
It’s all been leading up to this moment, my friends. We got the goats, we built the barn, then we got some more goats. And now it’s time to (finally) breed the goats for the first time. I sat down with Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and gave them “the talk.” But I wish someone would have given me the talk. Wait! No! Not THE “the talk.” The talk about scheduling goat breeding, what to expect when breeding goats for the first time and then the consequential cloud of goat math that has been following me around for the past few days.
You guys, it’s been way too long since we’ve posted anything decent. Our bad, dudes. Frankly, I’m ashamed and a little sad. But we have a good reason why we haven’t had time to chat. You see, every year the month of May is when we basically disappear off the face of the Earth and continuously work long, grueling hours trying to get the garden in and summer projects completed or started. And we also begin a strict farm workout regimen of dirt and sweat. We’re looking like bronzed lobster “after examples” in medical weight loss ads. It’s great. (PS I will never, ever convince myself in January that I should join a gym. That would be silly.) It’s like the entire month of May becomes farmer hell week. So here’s what we were up to during our month of May.
IT. IS. FINISHED!!! Kindof. For the most part. We finished converting our old pole barn into our new goat barn a few weeks ago and have since been working on getting the inside complete and ready for the girls to move in. It took a little work to get the inside of the barn human friendly and goat ready. This is the fun part (for me, at least). I guess Judy and Liza saw that we were pretty close to being done and ready to move them in because the last week before it was completely finished, they started escaping from their temporary pen and always found their way down toward to new barn. That was always a fun surprise. So we figured if that’s where they want to go, that’s where they’ll be! We moved them in, along with Greta and Lucy. Here’s what the fuss was all about and a look at how we set up the inside of our goat barn.
Hello again friends! A few of you have already gotten to know our girls, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. And a few weeks ago we introduced you to our new babies, Lucille Ball and Greta Garbo. Since Judy and Liza’s arrival, weâ€™ve been busily working on their permanent goat barn because according to Dave, Lucy and Greta can’t live in the house forever. However, before we started building I did some research and really couldnâ€™t find much information about how to build a goat barn. How much space do they need? How big should kidding stalls be? What about feeders and waterers? Do they need an in-ground pool or spa? Would they prefer a breakfast nook or a veranda? So many questions. But anyway, here’s a look at how we built our goat barn.
Ever since we got the farm, I’ve dreamt of the day that I can hold a baby goat in my lap and bottle feed it in the kitchen. I’ve spent hours and hours watching baby goat videos on YouTube, read every book and blog that I could. And I’ve even bought tiny goat pajamas to have “just in case.” I’ve been nesting in preparation for baby goats. We were planning on getting some in February, around the time that the new goat barn will be done. But one night, I was in the kitchen and Dave had just gotten home. I heard the front door open and in walk two three-day old baby goats! They looked around and bleated as if to say, “Hey, nice digs! Are you our momma? That’s cool. Now feed me!” So there they were. Baby goats. In the house. My dream had come true. But I wasn’t prepared… what do we do with these babies?! Where do they sleep? How often do they need to eat? Let this blog be a guide for you on what to expect when you’re (not) expecting goats and all about my adventures in bottle raising goat kids in our house.
It finally happened.. Dave caved and let me get some goats for my birthday! Birthday goats. Wow, if that doesn’t scream “I live on a farm” then I don’t know what does. Anyway, I was on the search for two Nubian doelings within minutes. Nubians are known for their excellent milk production, they have a high butterfat percentage (good for making cheese, not good for dieters) and can produce about 1,800 pounds (225 gallons) of milk each year. Plus, they got these big ol’ floppy ears. We found a family farm that was wanting to downsize their herd and wanting their two twin Nubian/Alpine mix doelings to go to a good home. The Alpine goats are known for their high milk production. Our goats are 75% Nubian and 25% Alpine so basically, we will get the Nubian butterfat with the Alpine production. Awesome! After talking to “Ashley the Goat Lady” as she’s listed in my phone, I knew that this would be a perfect fit. I immediately began nesting and preparing for their arrival but I had no idea what to expect the first few days of owning a goat. Allow me to be your guide of what to expect when you’re expecting your first goat.