Five months of
goatkeeping has been such a joy that I almost forgot the whole point ---
milk! But Abigail's production has been increasing quickly, and even
though the kid is still drinking as much as he wants, our doe shared a pint yesterday with her human caretakers. Time to
figure out the dairying side of goatkeeping. As usual in the caprine
world, I've got more questions than answers at the moment, so I hope
you'll chime in with your wisdom.
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To wash or not to wash?
The udder that is. Older advice was to wash and dry the udder before
milking, but newer sources suggest that you might actually move more
bacteria toward the milk that way than you remove. Unless there's actual
dirt on the teat, many modern experts simply recommend dipping the teat
in a disinfectant instead of washing. Others say you shouldn't dip the
teat until after milking, and that the dip's purpose is to prevent bacteria from getting up inside the teat and causing mastitis. What do you
do? What kind of teat dip do you use (if any) and when? And won't the
chemicals from the dip end up in the milk if you use it before milking?
What to do with all that milk?
Wow, even a pint a day seems like a lot of milk and production is
likely to continue to rise for the next few weeks. I want to start
experimenting with cheesemaking, but most cheeses seem to require
cultures (except for the lemon juice method that most people say isn't
very good). Do you have a culture source you particularly recommend? A
way to grow your own cultures so you don't have to keep buying them?
Which cheese recipes have worked well for you with goat's milk? And what
cheese-making recipes do you recommend? Finally, if that kind reader
who once offered us a buttermilk culture is still around, I'd love to
take you up on that kind gift now!