One thing I am very keen to do is to provide our own milk. We've previously owned a cow for that purpose but we couldn't keep the water up to her during the last drought. We sent her to my in-laws to live.
Then we acquired a couple of young milking goats that had never had kids. We had them for a while and really struggled with fencing issues. Eventually we admitted defeat and gave the goats to some friends. They already had milkers and were happy to have two more in the mix.
|Daisy and Argoo|
Next on the list was to buy the book Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby. I thoroughly recommend it. Then we started making a shelter.
The next day I spent quite a bit of time in the paddock waiting for some nice, fresh samples. While I was there I caught the two kids feeding from Daisy! "Hey guys, that's MY milk!!" They are not Daisy's babies and shouldn't be stealing milk from her.
Two days after the grass seed episode I found Daisy in the paddock looking miserable. She didn't want to walk up to be milked and hated me touching her. Again the vet was called. We couldn't find anything wrong but she was in obvious pain. By the next day she was fine again.
So by now, things weren't looking good. Daisy's milk was undrinkable and was disappearing before our eyes. Argoo's milk was likely to dry up if her kids stopped drinking from her. We would be left with no milk!
That's when we decided a pen was top of the priority list. We could put the kids in there until milking time so there would be some in the udder for us. Well that was until we got the call from the vet! The goats do have worms, and quite badly. I am very lucky to have my vet. She is very respectful of my wishes to raise the animals naturally. We have decided to try a natural drench and retest after two weeks. If there are still worms present, then I will use conventional wormers.
Anyway, it's been a trying two weeks but we have decided to stop milking to give the goats a rest while they get back to full health and get rid of the worms. We will have some time to set up well before we start milking again. We'll mate them in the Autumn and hopefully will be milking successfully in Spring.
Despite all the drama, I haven't been put off the idea of milking one little bit. On the contrary, I have had a little taste, loved it, and can't wait to try again!