I like milk. To be more precise, I like my own fresh goat milk and use it everyday. Having a steady supply requires planning out when the kids arrive.
A doe produces milk to feed her kids. Dairy animals are bred to produce more milk than their kids require and for a longer period than kids need milk.
Long ago I found I could breed half my does each year and milk the others through the winter months. This does mean milking twice a day, every day, all year round.
The alternative is to purchase a freezer to freeze milk in to last for several months. The goats still need daily care. I milk every day and enjoy my fresh goat milk.
This winter has been trying. Cold spells alternate with warm spells. Even some of the plants are confused as the maples started to swell their flower buds by January. They got blasted by the next cold spell.
It seems to mess the goats up as well. Normally my does have a big heat spell right after the first really cold spell in early September. They stand bawling up at Augustus for two or three days. They wag their tails. They need escort service to come into the milk room.
The rest of the winter the does cycle regularly until they are bred, but at much lower intensity. This winter that changed. Every warm spell, cold spell cycle brought my does into vigorous heat cycles.
Augustus produces that odiferous musk over breeding season. The smell usually starts fading in February. Not this year. He must continue to impress his does and abuse the noses of others.
Each big heat cycle cuts a bit of production from the does I’m milking through. It isn’t much, but accumulates. My supply of fresh goat milk is getting stretches thin.
Kids are scheduled to begin arriving in mid-March with the last in early April. This assumes the goats will follow my schedule. Drucilla’s December twin does show they are not overly impressed with the schedule.
Additional fresh goat milk is iffy while the kids are nursing. It depends on who milks first, me or them. They usually win.
The kids should leave in June. Then my kitchen will again overflow with fresh goat milk until November after October bred goats start drying off for the winter.
Find out more about goat milk and milking goats in “Goat Games.”