Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Udderly Magnificent

The purpose of raising dairy goats here at Granny's Best Goat Dairy .... besides the pure pleasure of their company! ... is for the milk that they produce.  With this milk, I produce delicious cheeses, yogurt, and cheesecakes.

The cost is the same to care for a doe that produces 2 gallons a day of milk as it is to care for a doe that produces 1/2 gallon of milk a day.  This is why I plan for and work toward producing milking does that have a large udder capacity and ability to consistently produce a good quality and quantity of milk.  I set the goal for each doe to be producing at least a gallon a day by time they freshen their second time.

A major part of the planning for production is the selection of the herd buck.  If you think about it, the buck is half of the herd.  I want him to be healthy, strong, gentle, and have good conformation.  Having star milkers and star bucks on his ADGA papers is a definite plus too.  I've been told that if a buck has large testacies that he will produce does that have large udders.  I haven't proven this yet, but am keeping records regarding this thought.

I was very lucky to get a wonderful herd buck when I purchased my first buck, BW. 

LaMancha Herd Buck - BW

He was very large, strong and gentle.  The does that I kept from my first kidding season have freshened their second time this spring.  Some of them are already outproducing their mothers. 

Here is some of the results of his offspring:

Emily is one of my first does.  She is part of the foundation of my dairy herd.  She gives around 2 gallons a day all season long.  Emily is 7 years old this spring.  She is recovering from pregnancy toxemia and ketosis.  The photo below was taken last milking season.  She is giving about a gallon and a half this season and is gaining her weight and strength back quickly.  I expect her to be back to her normal 2 gallons a day very soon.

Foundation Doe - Emily

Lady and Tina are two of the quadruplets that Emily gave me in the spring of 2008.  They are out of BW.

Lady - Emily and BW's daughter
(second freshening)

Tina - Emily and BW's daughter
(second freshening)

Lilah is also one of my first milking does and part of the foundation of my herd.  She gives a gallon and a half to two gallons all season long.  She is 7 years old this spring and still going strong.  She is the herd queen.

Foundation Doe - Lilah

Fawn and Oreo are Lila's daughters from the triplets that she gave me the spring of 2008.  They are also BW's daughters.

Fawn - Lilah and BW's daughter
(second freshening)

This photo of Oreo is from last spring when she was a first freshener.  She hasn't kidded yet this year.  I think her udder is pretty impressive for a yearling first freshener!

Oreo - Lilah and BW's daughter
(first freshening)

Opal and Pearl are Darcy and BW's daughters from the spring of 2008.  Darcy was Lilah's twin sister.  I lost her to complications after kidding.  (To read more about this - see my earlier post called  "(5) My First Kidding Season - Darcy")

Opal - Darcy and BW's daughter
(second freshening)

Pearl - Darcy and BW's daughter
(second freshening)

NaNa is Bell and BW's daughter from the spring of 2007.

NaNa - Bell and BW's daughter
(third freshening)

There are some of my does that I purchased when I was first building the herd that their daughters out of BW are out milking their mothers by quite a bit.  Misty and her daughter Sissy is one example.

Misty - One of my first does
(fourth freshening)

Misty and BW's daughter Sissy has much better udder formation and much greater production than her mother, Misty.
Sissy - Misty and BW's daughter
(second freshening)

Another one of my foundation does is Holly.  Holly has great udder formation with a lot of udder in the front.  She consistently gives a gallon a day.

Foundation Doe - Holly
(fourth freshening)

Holly and BW's grandson, Nathan, is one of the herd sires for one of my younger generation of does.  His offspring will be fist fresheners this spring and will be delivering kids over the next several weeks.

Lucy is also one of my foundation does.  This is her second freshening and she is milking very well.

Foundation Doe - Lucy
(second freshening)

Maggie gives me between a gallon and a half and two gallons a day.  I'm keeping her twin doelings from this year's kidding. 

Foundation Doe - Maggie
(fourth freshening)

Latte is one of my new herd sires.  He is a year old now and sired all of the Nubian kids that you've seen in the posts from this year's kidding season.  Now you see why so many of them have spots!  He is only a couple of weeks older that the bucks you see behind him.  He is going to be huge when he gets his full growth!  I am very pleased with his offspring and am keeping many of his doelings to build the herd.  His mother gave over a gallon a day as a first freshener.  I am trusting that he will pass this genetic trait to his daughters!

Latte (with Brown Bear and RC in the background)

I am pleased with the production of most of my does.  There are a few that will be replaced as the younger does mature.  My goal is to have all of my does producing at least a gallon of milk a day.  I keep that goal in mind each year as I plan for breeding season.  I've already started thinking about next fall's parings!

A wise man told me one time that if I take the best buck from my best doe and breed a generation of does with him that I will be duplicating the best of my best.    That's what I want as I develop this dairy herd ... the best of the best!


Linda said...

I enjoyed your post and seeing all the udders! I really like the quote at the end also... thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

and that is ALOT of milk!!!!!!!
wowzers.....reading your posts is like being back in AG class in highg school..those were the only classes I liked (and hence showed up for!!!)
I luv Latte's spots~~~

Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Wow you have really got some great stock. I know it makes your heart sing to have such good bucks. I sure was happy with my Durango and then after he died I was ready to totally give up. Now we have Thunder and I have high hopes for him. He has a good pedigree and looks good himself. This has to be a better year for me in the goat business...PLEASE!!

I sure wish I had some of that good milk of yours right now!!!!

All those babies are something else. You take goat farming to another level!!!! Thanks for sharing with me. I can live my dreams thru you!!!

Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

I forgot to say that my Durango really looked a lot like Latte!! Beautiful!!

~Tonia said...

You know how I feel about Latte!!lol He is just a stunning Buck!! I cant wait to see what his boy Moses does here! I am happy to have a buck out of BW too!!
Now I want to know how those girls felt about the pictures??LOL

Brenda said...

Thank you, Linda, Tina, Becky, and Tonia! I enjoy watching the improvements in each new generation.

--- Becky, the milk is so good. If you were closer, I'd be glad to share a glass or two with you!

--- Tina, yes it is a lot of milk. It takes a gallon of milk to make a pound of cheese. That's what makes the money to support this addiction I have to the goats! :D

--- Tonia, I don't think the girls even knew I took the photos! They had their head deep in the grain buckets as I was getting ready to milk them! ---- Your Moses (Latte's son) reminds me very much of Latte as he was growing up! Latte was also a "house goat"! You should have seen us dance and play together!

Jenna said...

We are breeding for quality udders as well! We've learned that breeding up in all areas is important, and does make a difference with longevity, production and health...for example: a doe who's pasturns are not strong, will have trouble producing a lot of milk because it's so hard to support...

Anyways, aren't genetics fun?! I love trying to match a doe with the correct buck that will benefit the kids most.

Thanks for blogging, I've read the whole thing now and I love it:)

Your blogging goat friend,

Feral Female said...

Those are some great looking udders!

Brenda said...

Thanks, Feral and Jenna. Yes, genetics are fun! I agree with you about breeding for the overall quality of the doe... especially the support system for the larger udder.

The feet and pasturns are an important thing to develop with good breeding. And, keeping the hoof trimming up to date is important. Letting their feet get out of shape affects the angle of their pasturn which in turn affects how they walk and carry their heavy load. Milk weighs 8.6 pounds a gallon. It's a pretty heavy load when they're milking up to 2 gallons a day!

Tonia has a great post on her blog The Simple Life about trimming their hoofs.

Laura said...

I always learn so much from your posts and Tonia's too, I have enjoyed this whole kidding season with you as you have documented the whole process from beginning to end in your blogs.Did you know when you started that you were going to become a professional dairy farmer or did you evolve into one? I so admire people who figure out a way to make a living doing something they love.

Brenda said...

Laura - Thank you very much! A

bout being a professional dairy farmer ... yes, I have to say that this has been a carefully planned out adventure. There have been some unexpected turns in the road along the journey, but has been going pretty much according to plan so far.

My husband is a cow dairy herdsman (among other things). I've helped him on some of the dairies that he has run - both really big and small dairies. I loved the raw milk and making cheese, but I do not like working with cows.

I chose to work with dairy goats for the fresh milk. I researched for about 6 months before purchasing my first goats. I bought some already milking and a few bottle baby does. This gave me experience with milking and taking care of the kids without having the stress of a kidding season my first year with the goats.

I never dreamed that I would fall in love with the goats and working with them! They are about the smartest, most loving animals I've ever worked with.

On all the cow dairies I've been on ... the cows are ... well just COWS. But, the goats each have their own unique personality. They are so willing to learn and want to please you. Now, there are some that know they're doing what they're not supposed to do, but will do it anyway. It's like they smirk at you when they're misbehaving. They are so funny!

Long answer to a short question! :D

Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Brenda....I just love to read about your adventures! I wasn't aware that your husband was a my past life I was too. I guess about 8 years of that life! I was a milk tester for DHIA for a while too. I have to say that I am much happier with goats too!!

I have been meaning to tell you for a long time now that I love your profile picture! You are beautiful and I love to see that sweet smile pop up on my comments page!!! :-)))))

Brenda said...

Becky - you are TOO kind! :D

I have enjoyed reading about your interests and adventures as well! And now ... to find out that you have herdsman skills as well as DHIA experience! Wow! You are truly a very talented woman!

Even though Ray is a herdsman, he doesn't always understand the goats. He is very very talented when it comes to dairy management and cow management. But, He thinks too much like a cow! We have some very interesting and sometimes heated discussions about the management of the goats. For the most part he stays out of the barn. I'm pretty hard headed when it comes to making sure my girls are happy. You can't treat them like they're cows. I think he's finally understanding that.

Melodie said...

Thanks for stopping by my place! I am looking forward to seeing and reading more of your blog!

Brenda said...

Welcome, Melodie. I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your little goat. It is very sad to lose one ... especially when they have wrapped them selves around your heart!

Jennifer said...

Great looking udders! I have been following the pictures Tonia has posted of her buckling and I didn't know he came from your farm. I can see why her buckling is so nice, he has quite the handsome sire!

Brenda said...

Thank you, Jennifer. Yes, Tonia's Moses takes his spots from his sire and his good looks from both his mother and sire. Latte was a "house goat" when he was little too and danced like Moses does. I guess he takes after his sire quite a bit!

Good Goats said...

Beautiful udders, Brenda! Congrats on all the kids and milk, and udders :).

By the way, I have a couple of questions for you about pulling kids off their dam when they are a few days old and bottle feeding them. If you wouldn't mind emailing me or me emailing you (although I don't have your email addy). Anyway, thanks!

Goodwife said...

Hi Brenda! I can't thank you enough for stopping by my blog and giving me that wonderful encouragment about homeschooling! It feels so very right and we are only on our second day. I enjoy reading about your goats and as you know, I love my goaties very much as well! Have a wonderful day!

Brenda said...

Hi, Mrs Goodwife! And Welcome! Thank you for your sweet comments.