The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Goat geekery

Goat at the gate

Sometimes I enjoy our goats' company so much that I forget to write (or even think) about our production goals. But I figured I owed you (and them) some goat geekery.

Previous milking graph

Six weeks ago, I shared Abigail's lactation chart to date. I couldn't seem to find my original spreadsheet, so I used a lazy approach to update it --- the thinner line shows her August and early September milk production figures.

Although our current average of a little less than three cups of milk per day is pretty measly by high-class goat standards, I'm actually quite happy with Abigail's perseverence and still have no plans to dry her off. However, I am considering changing our doe over to once a day milking.

The downsides --- production will probably drop a bit more and the chance of mastitis will increase slightly. The upsides --- I won't have to feed Abigail as many concentrates since I won't have to keep her busy during two milkings, I'll only have to clean milking equipment once per day, and I won't have to be so careful about always being home at the proper time in the evening. Experienced milkers --- feel free to share your thoughts on this unconventional choice!

Goat butts

On another note, after talking it over with Mark, I realized that we don't really have to breed both Artemesia and Abigail this fall. After all, milking one goat is quite enough for my carpal tunnel and for our bellies, and our farm isn't operating close enough to the poverty line that the resulting lack of efficiency will be a problem. So we're focusing on getting Artemesia knocked up this fall and giving Abigail a year of companion-goat duty.

To that end, I've found two potential suitors for our doeling's first date and have been watching carefully for signs of heat...but seeing none. Suddenly I started wondering if Lamb Chop could have done the job after all this spring. I still think that's unlikely, but I took some goat-butt photos just to consider the possibility. Results: uncertain. I'll keep looking for heats and chatting with buck owners in hope of getting our girl pregnant in late October for a late March birth.

Cute goat

Okay, that's enough geekery. Back to your usual round of cute-goat photos in subsequent posts.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Comment by ralph Wed Sep 16 06:08:19 2015

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