Sunday, December 5, 2010

Heading into the Holidays...

Time moves to fast for me...  Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas Season is upon us.  Our weather went from warm to cold again and we are checking for snotty noses on our young kids.  Extra bedding and full bellies keep the babies warm.

We are preparing to go on DHIR (Dairy Herd Improvement Registry) Test and working out the many details.  Once we get going, things will sort themselves out.  We have been milking with the Capralite Machine, which has been wonderful, once a day, until the kids are weaned.  We will milk twice a day once the kids are weaned.  We are milking 8 does now, until several others freshen.  We have several kids who are half bottle babies.  What does that mean??  We are milking mom in the morning and if she has triplets, we need to bottle them to keep the kids from attacking mom and biting teats while they fight for a teat.  We have a couple of kids who have just decided they want some bottle too and show up for a snack.  This tames the kids, but gives us the flexibity to not have to bottle them while at work.  The kids have mom during the day, until moms are locked up at night for morning milking.

The fresh Nigerian milk is wonderful and the cheese even better.  The yield of cheese, with the Nigerians, compared to the Nubian is almost double.  Nigerians have more milk fat and protein.  The smaller teats of the Nigerian makes it difficult to hand milk.  My hands are large and shot from hand milking.  My Nubian Ariel is hand milked because she has large teats and it takes just a few minutes to milk her.  We will be the FIRST and ONLY Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Herd on DHI test in Alabama! 

As our does freshen, we will milk them and decide who to keep and who to move on.  These does will be used to milking both with a machine and by hand.  We do have a waiting list for milk stand trained goats.  If you are interested in a home milker, let us know and we will add you to the list.  These will not be record breaking producers, but will give enough milk for the average family.  Some may even end up quite nice down the road if one continues to milk them.  The more you milk your goats, the more milk they will produce.  The less you milk, the less they produce.  It looks like the blogger photo insertion is not working, so we will cut this short and add photos at another time.  I have some great shots of Oldesouth Blue Alexa's second freshening udder.  It is really nice and she is milking over a pound and a half once a day.  She may just qualify for her star this year.  We will wait and see.  The cold weather has the girls giving less milk.  They milk the best at about 50 to 70 degrees.  I think this will ease up once the girls get used to the colder weather. 

We are going to move in another large storage shed type building to make into a milking Parlor and clean up area.  It will be heated and cooled and have hot & cold running water.  It will be a joy to milk, no matter the weather.  It will not be Grade A or anything, but comfortable for us and the girls.  We won't have the water dripping on our heads either.  When we have frost on the metal buildings, as soon as the sun comes up and it begins to thaw, it is like a rain forest dripping on us.  It is absolutely miserable...  Enough for now...