Monday, June 6, 2011

Thinning the Herd

If your family enjoys Veggie Tales as much as mine, the heading should sound familiar.  If not, well it's what we need to do with our dairy goats anyway.  With spring births we are up to a total of 13 goats.  One is our buck and 6 are the new kids born this year.  There are 5 in milk and one "dating" the buck right now.  We hadn't intended to sell any but this year's kids, but with the cost of a bale of hay around $15 we're planning to sell all but 2.  We have Alpines and Nubian/Boer crosses and planned to keep one of each, waiting for freshening to see who was the best producer.  We knew the top of the herd is Annie, our Alpine.  Not only does she consistently produce more, but her teats are actually big enough to handle.  All 4 of the others are tiny and it's a challenge to get them milked. 

After making the decision to sell, I've also come to the conclusion that I don't particularly care for any of the Nubians we have, but enjoy their richer milk, with cream that rises to the top.  I was going to keep the best producer just because, but realized I can sell all but Annie and buy a purebred Nubian and look for teat size FIRST.  I've never done that, just bought thru Craigslist and taken what we get. 

I'm kind of a geek and have counted how many squirts it takes to milk out a goat.  The other day, Annie was roughly 10 squirts to an ounce, whereas the others were about triple that!  Three times the work for the same amount of milk!  So now the task of finding or taking good pictures of each and listing them for sale.  Two are going to be traded for butcher pigs, we just don't know which two yet.  Neighbors have the pigs and want goats, we have the goats and want pigs.  Sounds like a good trade to me!

This week I'm also focusing on courses from GNOWFGLINS.  Goober Gus is at VBS every morning, so I have some uninterrupted time to learn some new kitchen skills.  I'm focusing on sourdough this week and am very intrigued by the notion that the souring process and wild yeasts may actually make the grains used healthier.  Anyone else familiar with this concept?

This blog is part of the Homestead Barn Hop.  Take a look!