Monday, June 2, 2008

Udder Reflections...

(Click to enlarge images.)

'How's her udder?' is a common enough question among dairy folks, and rightly so - afterall isn't milk the point? So I was considering my milkers while I milked this morning. First a caveat, I know I'm not maximizing production in my goats. For one, as the mother of 3 babies under 4 years old, "morning milking" happens at 11, 12,.. or 1, 2... *blush* Not only that, but I learned to milk on a goat with one teat so my right hand exhausts way before my left!

Birdie's udder has developed over the course of 3 freshenings - proof that patience can pay off. Maybe there are some outstanding producers out there who produce gallons the first year, but I would venture a guess that that is the exception, not the rule. Maybe I'm wrong? If so let me know! This year she had her first set of twins, and at the peak of her production she was giving us 3 quarts a day. She had an udder injury before she came our way that left her with one teat, so we only get milk from 1/2 her udder. Last year, I couldn't milk her with my whole hand, but this year I can. She let's down her milk easily. The texture of her bag when she's empty is a little meaty, but I wouldn't say badly so. A little pendulous, but not terrible.

Now Lily didn't bag out much with her first baby. Her teats were teeny tiny, so I left the baby on her for nearly 3 months and did not milk her at all. After Tuck started drinking from both Lily and Birdie, we weaned him, and I started milking Lily. At first it was such work, her bag was so hard and her teats so little - and there were 2 of them, something I'm not used too! (Not only that but she's was as wild as a jackrabbit....) But within 5 days, it got easier. I milk her with 3 fingers, and she gives me about 1/2 a gallon a day. After she's milked, her bag is completely deflated and soft - very good texture.

Overall, I think their udders are very respectable for backyard milk goats.

Bye-bye Tuck! Hello Oreo and Davy!

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Lily's baby's got a name and a new home (no cabrito for the Mercer's this year!). We dropped Tuck off at Duck Haven Farm ( this weekend, and brought home two cute as a button Nigerians. Davy is a handsome little buck who has such a classic goat face - maybe I should call him Pan or Faun! Oreo is just a little puff of fir right now - about the size of a cookie!