Drying off goats
Goat owners often dry off
their goats two months before the next kids are due...assuming they
feel confident milking that long. Alternatively, you can stop milking
when you think your doe is getting too skinny
or when your fingers start getting too cold. Or, in our case, when
you're sure your other doe isn't pregnant and won't need a backup milk
source just in case the worst happens.
Since we're now sure that
Artemesia doesn't have a bun in the oven, I socked away a couple of
quarts of milk for Thanksgiving pies, then started drying Abigail off.
She's currently producing a little less than two cups a day during once-daily milkings, so I felt confident that she'd survive the cold-turkey method.
Actually, in a perfect
world, we would have started drying our goat off two weeks ago by
downgrading her food supply to simple hay. But, the weather mostly did
that for us when it nipped back all of the happy wild foods and reduced
our goats' diet to hay plus a bit of daily oats and honeysuckle. I still
give Abigail daily concentrates (about two cups of alfalfa pellets plus
a cup of butternut squash, carrots, and/or sweet potatoes), though, so I
hope that won't gum up the works of her dry-down.
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