We finally set up our baby goat pen. We stacked logs and blocks for them to jump on, a little makeshift house for them to get out of the weather in, and a ramp leading to the top of the house for them to climb on. We separated them from their moms for the first time a few nights ago and they didn’t mind it at all until the next day, when we kept them from their mothers for a full 24 hours so that we could record the amount of milk each doe was giving. We’ll do this once a month until the goats are dried off for freshening in the Spring, otherwise only separating the babies at night and letting them nurse during the day. Usually the doelings have self-weaned by the time we need to dry the does off, and at that time we’ll permanently separate mothers from babies and move the bucks in with the adults for breeding.
As expected, Sudoku led the way in milk production, giving almost 5lbs in a 24 hour period, which is a full 2 pounds more than some of our other goats produced. I don’t know what’s going wrong this year… last year, all of our goats with the exception of Scotch and Sudoku were giving right around 4lbs a day (with Scotch giving less and Sudoku giving more,) and this year many of them are giving less than three! With the exception of Sudoku, who is always extremely consistent, I feel like Nigerian Dwarfs can be sensitive to EVERYTHING. Change their housing… milk production goes down. Change their feed… milk production goes down. Rub their bellies clockwise instead of counter clockwise… you’d better be prepared to get less milk in the morning. We’ve decided we’re going to hang on to Sudoku’s daughters for a little while longer, and NOT offer the other doeling for sale unless we absolutely have to. Her does are just too valuable for us to let go of any more of them! Our friend with bees tells us we won’t need most of the equipment for them until next year, so we’ll see what happens when Spring rolls around.
Another doeling we know we won’t be letting go of is Emerald, the daughter of Mini Pearl and Legacy. She is by far the most beautiful doe we’ve ever produced on our farm and from the first few weeks of her life, I could see that she was something special. I have very limited knowledge about goat conformation, but from what little I do know, she is an amazing doe. Her fur is super silky soft, her movements are beautiful and everything about her just screams “dairy goat.” She’s also super sweet, unlike her mother who is our least friendly doe. I’m excited to see what this little girl will do for us, when she freshens next year!