May 30, 2009

Visiting the Dairy Girls

The photo below is Sarah Beth our 9 year old grade Saanen. She is "Queen" of the farm as well as the dairy herd queen. Depending on the day, the better half calls her either the good ole goat or the mean ole goat. She is definitely both. She takes no guff from anyone and will fight tooth and horn to keep her title. She definitely makes it known she is Queen.
She knows her job and does it well. Without guidance or assistance she enters the milk room, walks up onto the stand, stands quietly and is very well behaved during milking. She exits the milk room the same way.
Sarah Beth was my first milking goat. At peak gives 2 gallons a day, each kidding delivers quads. Seriously, every year she has 4 kids. Regardless of the breed of buck we have bred her to, she produces 4 kids.
She has provided milk for our family for going on 8 years now. Over the years her milk has also bottle fed various breeds and many, many goat kids. Sarah Beth has now been retired from breeding, she has not been bred in over 365 days and continues to give 1/2 gallon of milk a day. I am thinking she may never dry off. That's OK. I'll milk her as long as she produces.

Below is Greymantle's Barb, our 4 yr. old ADGA registered purebred LaMancha. In her previous life she was a show goat. Her show placings include : 1 Best Junior Doe In Show, 1 Grand Champion, 1 Reserve Grand Champion, 6 1st Place wins. She originally was born and lived in Maine. Now she is one of our family milkers in Missouri. At peak she offers 1 gallon a day.
Barb is a gentle girl, is rather timid and she dislikes men. She is also a biter, due to not having horns she uses her teeth to get her point across.
Very Pregnant, due to kid week of June 8th.
Below is Isabella, Barb's daughter. Isabella's father was Briar Bay Intelligent Design a purebred Saanen buck from Texas. Isabella is registered as an ADGA Experimental, 50% Saanen, 50% LaMancha. Isabella is 2 years old, her first kidding last year produced twins. She also gives a gallon a day which was very good for a first freshner.
Stretching to wake up
Though Isabella is registered, she has 2 qualities that would disqualify her from any show ring and many dairy goat owners would turn their noses up and really frown at. 1 - she has horns. We do not disbud or de-horn our goats. Barb is the only one on our farm who is hornless, she came to us that way. (Well some of the sheep are polled.)

Wide load, Isabella is due the same timeframe as Barb
The other disqualification would be that Isabella has 3 teats. The teats are fully functional teats, not fish teats or spur teats like on Boer goats, but separate teats. They create 3 working udder sections. Not concerned at all about the fact she has this. An extra teat is a recessive gene and can be brought out by breeding. Research shows that recessive genes can be brought out by the "Environment of the pregnancy" (ie: an extra teat can be caused by the doe having to much protein in the placenta). We will never know what caused the 3rd teat. Her kids from last year were both normal.
The extra udder section is in front of the udder on the left hand side.
The purple is a antiseptic spray we used to treat a cut on her back leg. She either scratched it on something or tangled with a piece of barb wire fencing ( we are in the process of removing all barb wire from the farm).
Barb and Isabella eating their breakfast at the feeder while pregnant.
After Barb and Isabella kid they will return to eating their meals on the milk stand while being milked.
I am still debating if I will pull the kids from the girls to bottle feed while I milk or if I will leave the kids on their mothers and milk once a day.

7 comments:

Kara said...

I enjoyed meeting Sarah, thanks for sharing.

Gizmo said...

Your girls are lovely! Thank you for introducing us to them.
We only disbud the ones we are SURE will be going into the show ring.

DebH said...

Wow!! What great information and especially helpful in knowing how much milk a person can actually get from the dairy goat when managed right. I on the other hand have been so whimpy on removing the kids that I milk once a day and get just a quart of two. I hope to get better about the right way to do this. I am used to the dairy cows (Jerseys) I own and that I take what I need and leave the rest for the calf. I especially love the goats milk and hope to have someone "tell" me the right way to do this. I am just a woosie girl when taking those sweet babies from those Momma...surely I will get better. Also, you have a beautiful bunch of girls!!!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

wow, you get lots of milk from your girls. I have Dwarves so not nearly as much.

~Tonia said...

Very nice girls!! I pull the kids off mom at night and milk first thing in the morning and let them have the rest of the milk thru the day.. I get a gallon plus off of them that way and the kids get the rest. But I wait till they get going good! I am considering pulling babies next year and selling as bottle babies.

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Jama, I enjoyed my visit with your dairy girls.

Sarah seems to hold onto her weight very well. Many of us saanan owners have "lines" that thin out because the saanans give so much to their milk. Many of us have emaciated-looking saanan gals during their heavy milk producing seasons. Sarah looks wonderful!

I love the girls that tend to be naturals on the stand. We never need to utter a word. Come to the stand, do what their job is (nibble on some grain, milk out) and then leave just when we are finished. Always fascinates me, even when 9 or 10 gals arrive at the milk room door at the same time each day, in the same order.

Enjoyed your post!

Mama said...

Your ladies are soo pretty,thanks for the lovely pics.