Sunday, July 29, 2012

Goats, Chevon, and Goat Milk

It took a long time in coming when my husband was willing to get goats.  It started with our first taste of pronghorn, which is very much like goat.  It was yummy and much like beef.

Getting One's Goat

So, I went and looked for two does.  Contrary to popular belief, the term for a female goat is a doe, not a nanny; the term for an intact male is a buck, not a billy.  Wether is the term for a castrated male.

A friend of mine who helped get me into chickens had two does.  No, I didn't know she was selling them, I found them on Craigslist.  She emailed me.  "Oh, it's you..."

So, I came home with two LaMancha does that I named Heidi and Belle.

Goat Crazy

Next, I was looking on Craigslist and found two wethers.  They were free and were going into a  freezer.  It just depended whose, I suppose.  I got them and delivered them to the butcher the next day.  Goat meat tastes a lot like beef, moreso than lamb.  (I've heard people suggest it tastes like lamb, but honestly, it tastes like beef).

Craigslist is a dangerous place for me.  I was looking around and saw a free buckling.  I thought about Heidi and Belle and wondered if perhaps he'd be good for them.  At the same time, I saw a LaMancha buckling for sale for $50 and a doe in milk to barter for chickens.

I sent a bunch of emails out.  After thinking long and hard about the free buckling (who had horns), I found out he went to a nice home.  The woman with the doe wanted to sell the doe's kid, and I had no desire to buy it.  My friend who sold me Heidi and Belle sent me an email asking if we were the only two people in the entire five valleys because she was the one with the LaMancha buckling.  We made plans on transferring the little guy the next Saturday.

At 9 pm I got a phone call from the woman who had the doe wanting to trade the doe for chickens.  Seems the doe got out and ate her garden.  (Goats do that)  We negotiated 4 chickens for the doe.

So, I came home with Annie and Oreo.

An Idiot Milks a Goat

Now, for those who might wonder, no I''d never milked a goat before, let alone milked anything.  Annie on the other hand, had never been milked.  This past week has been interesting.  What I mean by "interesting" is that Annie would nearly strangle herself in the ropes while stuffing a foot in the bucket, thus leading to the chickens getting goat's milk.

The chickens were loving it.  Annie and I, not so much.

That was until the day before yesterday.  I got it figured out that without a milk stand, I had to rely on Annie's patience.  I gave her grain, held onto her side and milked her.  Her patience wears out after about a pint of milk.  Not an incredible amount, but she is a Pygmy crossed with either an Alpine or a Nigerian Dwarf.  Milking a small goat is problematic at best. 

One thing I've learned is not to force the issue.  Even though she carries more milk than the milkman, she is a young goat and gets bored.  Any fidgeting is a sure sign she's done, regardless of whether you think she's done.  Ignore the fidget, and the next step is a foot in the milk pail and a bunch of happy chickens.

Mmm, Milk...

So, after pasteurizing the milk on the stove and cooling it, I tasted the milk.  Goat milk tastes like cream.  Sweetened cream.  Not a hint of goaty flavor.  I hear that commercial goats' milk tastes awful.  This stuff doesn't.  Probably the closest tasting thing is fresh whole milk or half-and-half.

Good stuff!


  1. This is exactly the same place that I am at with a first freshener Nigerian Dwarf....and first for me in trying to milk a goat! Nice to see that someone else is trying to get milk from a little goat....I haven't given up yet, but still have the twin kids to share with. What a deal to trade 4 chickens for a goat in milk, I would not have passed that up either!

    1. Yeah, I'm a bit of a horse trader when it comes to bartering. She asked for 6 chickens and I offered 4 because I knew she was mad and wanted the goat out of there. The fencing was hog fencing-- 5 inch by 5 inch holes -- wouldn't keep my LaManchas in, much less a small girl about the size of a Nigerian. OTOH, she gives me about 2-3 cups of milk before she gets tired of my milking.