My Friend Olive…the goat

In a few short days we’ll be enjoying fresh goat milk again.  I love goat milk.  It makes the best ice cream, the cream doesn’t separate and it is easily digestible.  I have heard a lot of people tell me that they think goat milk tastes bad but I think it depends mainly on the goat’s diet.  Our goat milk tastes great but our goats are offered a wide variety of forages.

Let me introduce you to our goat herd, headed up by Olive.  We bought Olive on Craig’s List some years back.  She came from a farm about an hour to the North.  I believe she is rounding out her sixth year.  She’s a gallon milker and is at least mostly nubian.  Isn’t she pretty?

Olive arrived with her twins (Sweet Pea and Popeye (Supper)) two summers ago then gave us quadruplets last year.  That’s a pretty strong mark against her as it is a trait we want to select against.  We were able to keep two of the four.  I made an attempt at a family photo but..well, goats are goats.  From the back left Olive, Sweet Pea, Pixie and Honey.  Honey wanted to eat my pant leg and refused to pose.

What we like best about the goats is they aren’t much of a threat to our children’s safety.  They may love you to death but that’s the worst they’ll do. Billy goats are a little different story…

Olive and Sweet Pea are days away from freshening…from kidding…from having babies.  We’ll keep a close eye on them as we believe Olive was bred on Dec. 10th and Sweet Pea was bred a few days later.  When Olive was carrying quads last year she developed a limp…you would too.  So far she’s getting around normally but you can tell she isn’t comfortable laying down.

This will be Sweet Pea’s first freshening.  She’s developing an udder and you can tell she’s not comfortable with any part of this arrangement.  She’ll be a handful on the milking stand.  Should make for good times though.

Anyone have any tips on breaking a goat to milk?

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4 thoughts on “My Friend Olive…the goat

  1. How do you keep your goats confined? It’s look like electrified poultry netting. I heard Joel Salatin say that he doesn’t raise any animals that are smarter than he is…hence the no goats at Polyface :)

    • We use PermaNet and a 5 joule fencer. Kids are a little jumpy at times but for the most part, as long as we keep them on fresh pasture regularly, they stay in.

      We use PermaNet for everything. We bought some shoats that are less than 20 pounds. They hop right through our pig quick fence. I pulled out a roll of PermaNet and the problem was solved. They respect white wires now.

  2. Good luck on training your first freshener! ;) Those are always fun… But if you seriously want to start making things easier for both of you when milking time comes around, I would go ahead and start teaching her how to get up on a milking stand. With my FF’s, I teach them that they get their grain up on the stand, and I start out just brushing them down while they eat their grain. Once they get comfortable with jumping on the stand, I’ll start using my hands to give long, sweeping strokes around the belly. This gradually changes into handling their udder (but NOT milking!) and getting them used to having them touched. More often then not, they’ll fight, throw tantrums and be pills (the Nubians more so than other breeds). But after awhile they get used to it.

    • Thanks for the advice. The good news is we have had her on the stand since she was about a month old. We brush, give treats and trim hooves there. She knows the routine, just not the milking part.

      I’m sure she’ll be jumpy and kicky as she still spooks when we touch her udder.

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