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
Tina - Emily and BW's daughter
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
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
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
Pearl - Darcy and BW's daughter
NaNa is Bell and BW's daughter from the spring of 2007.
NaNa - Bell and BW's daughter
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
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
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
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
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
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!