Something good out of tragedy

Y’all know that we want to milk our goats. I’ve bought all of the supplies I need so I’m completely prepared for it, minus having the experience. I’ve watched countless YouTube videos on the subject. Watching is how I learn. We got our dairy goats, a couple that are in milk and one that would be soon, because she was pregnant. Was is the keyword. Unfortunately, our mini la mancha gave stillbirth to two babies. Maybe the weather had something to do with it? She showed no signs of going into labor and I have been watching her closely. I was also told from her previous owner she wasn’t due for another month or so.

We’re currently going through a winter storm that is also devastating south Texas. We’ve prepared our well water system with our underground well house setup. We use a wood stove for heat, and we have generators if we experience a power outage. So we’ve prepared ourselves for this kind of situation, but we experience these storms every winter.

This is the state we are in with this winter storm!

Our mini is really skittish. We’ve only had her for a short period but she is a skittish goat. I was able to catch her since she’s in distress and separate her. Once she is on a lead she’s not so bad, but she definitely dislikes being handled. Her after birth was still not completely out, so I began to worry. I figured that I needed to simulate babies nursing to help her stimulate pushing the after birth out. It had been almost 24 hours since the stillborn babies were out. I was really hoping that milking her would help.

Mind you, I have never milked an animal ever in my life. Armed with my YouTube knowledge, I went in and did it. I was so nervous, and I felt so bad, because she has just lost her babies. I know she probably feels terrible at the moment. It totally worked though. After the second time of milking her she finished pushing it out. It was such a relief!

I was able to get over 1/3 of a cup total of colostrum. I will be saving this for any future kids that may need it. In the midst of my sadness of losing those kids, there was a silver lining. I milked for the very first time ever! It was difficult not having a stanchion, on my knees crouched over and trying to get the feel of it. She has super tiny teats, so it took some time to figure it out! A feeling of accomplishment came over me afterwards. This is a new chapter for us, a new skill I’m learning that will become an asset to our homestead. It feels empowering to be at this stage. Its promising to be where we can produce our own dairy products.

This was after the first milking session. Just over 1/4 cup!

I cannot wait to start a routine milking the other goats. To be honest, I really need to get on top of that. Mini is going to familiarize me with it, and help me gain more confidence. We also have a stanchion being built for us. I’ll give details on that deal later. Ken also surprised me with a cheese press! I had been searching for one on amazon but he went way above the price range I was looking at! I will definitely have to make a post on our dairy supplies. I’m anxious to use and all the tools we have!

Another thing is, Ken gave me a nice new embroidery machine for Christmas. So I’ve been playing with it and am going to start embroidering cheese cloths and udder wipe towels. I used a couple of them on Mini so I know they are going to be useful.

Also, I’m embroidering these tea towels for cheesecloths. I’ve used them before to make Queso Fresco (Mexican cheese). They are much better than the cheesecloths I’ve purchased before. I still need to play with the size and placement of the designs to make them practical for cheesemaking.

I’ll keep everyone updated on Mini and how she’s doing!

Until next time, God Bless!

-Cristina

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