Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My first goat milking!

Well, that was nothing short of a friggin' nightmare. But let me back up.

I've been thinking lately that it is tiresome to pay to feed livestock and keep them when we aren't getting anything in return, so I decided it is time to invest in an actual lactating doe. I found one today, freshened two months ago, and so Ed and I decided to go and pick her up.

She's a beautiful doe, nearly all white with a little blonde. Lamancha/alpine mix. She's got a goatee and I think it's adorable.

I was nervous about bringing her home and introducing her to my other two girls, but it turned out just fine.

So tonight was the first milking. I washed up and sanitized the stockpot that I will be using until I get something more appropriate and brought my goat hobble and a washcloth and wash solution with me to the lovely goat staunchion Ed built.

Problem 1: she didn't want anything to do with getting on the staunchion. No interest whatsoever, even with a big bowl of grain. I tried for like 10 minutes before Ed had to come and rescue me. He struggled and lifted her up while I attempted to do my thing.

Problem 2: I don't think I figured out the goat hobble properly. Since she's so scared from being in a new place, all she wants to do is kick as she hates having her udder touched.So I couldn't get her hobble on all the way and it eventually just fell off.

Problem 3: I happened to pick the most inopportune weather to try milking her. Even under the eave, there was so much rain dribbling off my raincoat and into the bucket.

Problem 4: she clenched her legs closed around her udder. So I could hardly grab onto the udders.

Problem 5: There was small amount of dark brown liquid dribbling in the milk.... as if rain was dripping poop into the bowl. I did the best I could to clean her off, so I'm not sure what the heck that was. I dumpted the pail out numerous times thinking this wasn't normal.

Finally Ed and I were so frustrated that we decided to give it a rest and try again later.

So I took my pail up to the kitchen, strained the milk through a fine mesh strainer (that was still not enough to get all the hair out). After all the dumping and incomplete milking, I ended up with a little over a pint. Pretty good, I think!

Even though I've done much research on the subject of pasteurization, I couldn't wait to taste it. So I took a little one or two ounce sip and about barfed. It was horrible. No really, it was horrible. Everyone says that fresh goat milk tastes so much better than storebbought. But I've had storebought goat milk many times and thought it tasted lovely. My first thought when I tasted it was pee. And then it tasted like that really stinky styrafoam (sp?).

Holly crap I hope that it is just circumstantial. Maybe stress, or maybe something she ate made an off flavor in her milk. We will see.