Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Goat Dairy Diary Part II

I was not sure what to talk about today, but it all gelled!

I had a busy morning with the goats, trying to get out of the barn and clean up before the order of grain was delivered, also knowing that I needed to get to Country Home Crafts where some of my products are displayed to deliver some of the newest goat milk soaps. I got it all accomplished, but it left me feeling slightly depleted.

After lunch I worked on putting an order together and did an inventory of the essential oils and fragrances in the shop.

A few days ago, after receiving some really good questions (in my opinion), I talked about my farm schedule and answered a few questions in the blog post The Goat Dairy Farm Diary (To Answer Questions).

Today, Lynnanne asked a few more great gave me something to write about!

"I'm curious as to why the dairy goats are bottle fed and most of the meat goats are not??" It is fairly common practice to bottle raise vs. dam raise dairy animals (calves, lambs, and goats). This is done for several reasons, mainly to protect and ensure the health of the udder. In commercial dairy operations the kids are pulled and fed milk replacer, the goat milk is gathered and sold, or the milk is used to make cheese. In my situation, I choose to bottle feed the dairy kids to protect the udder, and to prevent disease in the kids (that can be passed through the dam's milk, such as CAE). My hope is to someday have the commercial dairy (goat or cow) that I dream of. I pasteurize the goat milk that I collect, using some of the milk in the soap and goat milk lotion, and during deficit times I will mix part milk replacer with part goat milk when I bottle feed. As you know, many of us follow different practices with our herds. I am not opposed to leaving dairy kids on the dams. My philosophy with fellow herders or farmers is, what works for you is best!

"What prompted you to go into goats and goat milk soap?" The interest in soap came first. I began making soap in 2003 (with a soap interest that began as a youngster). My initial investment in goats was geared towards meat goats (boers), but as soon as I got my first dairy goat (Carmella, a nubian) I was hooked. After not making soap for a few years, and after realizing that it was very difficult to obtain a dairy license in Ohio, and also realizing that I was itching to make soap again, I decided to get the goat milk soap ball rolling, full speed ahead. And again, I was hooked. I love goat milk soap! And I am very excited to be able to show a product that is crafted as a product from my hard work on the farm. There is nothing like fresh goat milk. I drink it, I make cheese out of it, and of course, soap and lotion too!

I am ready for more questions...I thank you!!


Anonymous said...

Good stuff Mary!

Jason Crowson said...

i don't know if you've talked about it or not, but i'd like to see the break down of your herd by breed and gender. and keep up the good info!

KathyB. said...

Toward the end of my dairy goat - keeping years I was breeding my Nubian does to a Boer buck I did not own. Mostly I did this because the excess male wethers were all going for butcher ( sorry to you who are sensitive about this ) and I decided that since I was not in need of replacement does for awhile I would continue this practice. What I discovered was , to me , the best reason for taking dairy goats off the udder and putting them to bottle right away! Because of outside obligations I did not have time to bottle feed kids one year and left them to nurse their mothers. The following year I wanted to milk again and was disappointed by the small amount of milk I was receiving from my does...well I soon discovered the reason. The yearling does were suckling their moms, like they had done the previous year! Here were these yearlings, their moms had new babies on the bottle and they ( yearlings) were stealing MY milk!!!

I then decided that if I were to continue with dairy goats, they would be bottle fed immediately. However, Boer/Nubian babies who are nursed by their moms grew rapidly and were ready for butcher quite soon, and the meat was far better than any beef or venison I have ever tasted.Really a very practical and affordable way to produce meat for the family table and not requiring anywhere near the feed and hay a cow or steer would require!
Again, sorry for offending anyone who cannot conceive of a wether as a food source.

Good post Mary, thank-you.

Lynnanne said...

Thanks for answering! You mentioned a Nubian -- do you have any Toggs? If so, what's your favorite milk goat breed? I like goats, but haven't had any for many years. Soap making piques my interest, but the lye issue scares me a bit. Do you use lye in your soaps? Seems like I've read where there is a type of soap that doesn't require lye??
Thanks for sharing!

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Kathy, yes, I've had that happen too! Kids 18 months old, under their dam's, hitting the udder, going for the hard earned milk. :)

Jason and Lynnanne, I answered your breed and gender question in a new Part III post.

But, Lynnanne, I will answer your lye question here, and then on another post later. Yes, I do use lye (sodium hydroxide) when I make the soap. The soap would not saponify (turning the oils to soap) if lye were not used. I was rather scared of it the first time I used it. Now I am probably not careful enough. I try to wear long sleeves and I do wear glasses. Otherwise, I would wear safety goggles.

For those that do not know this, once a soap cures, it absolutely has no traces of lye in it. Within a few days the soap is probably safe enough to use. I have used it at 2 weeks, as a test. For soap that I sell,I wait 4 weeks, minimum, and then sometimes a bit longer for the soap to continue to harden.

There are various forms of soap that can be purchased (such as melt and pour) that allows for some creativity with soap making, without the dangers of handling a lye mixture.

Lynnanne said...

I'm still using this bar that you sent. I was surprised that it didn't melt away like other brands of soap seem to do when kept in a shower for lengthy periods. I really like it.

Maybe I'll get brave one of these years and try my hand at a batch of soap... time will tell. :)