18 Days. . .

Nutmeg kidded on September 24th. She is 18 days into her second lactation. This morning about 10:15 I pulled her from the lambing jugs where she has been residing with her three kids and put her in the doe pen for the day. Around 5:15 – about 7 hours later – I put her up on the milk stand.

2nd Freshening at 18 days lactation

2nd Freshening at 18 days lactation. She gave me 22.55 oz.

On her first lactation she gave me 22.0 oz after having been separated from her twin kids for about 12 hours.

Slopping Hogs

I repositioned the trough in the pig pasture the other day and then secured (I thought) it to the ground. I set it up away from the fence but close enough that I could use a section of PVC pipe to deliver milk from outside the fence. It worked well in the first use . . . .


Accessible from either side and accommodates the five hogs without fighting.

Unfortunately, despite driving U-bolts through the feet and into the ground, it only took a short time for the hogs to turn it upside down. On to Plan B (once I think of Plan B.)

Least Favorite Task

I’ve written before about my dislike of disbudding goats. To get me through this process, which is high on my list of least enjoyable tasks, I cast my mind back to those instances where I have had to deal with goats who have gotten stuck in fences, and the couple of times when the goats have broken their necks in fences before I found them. Since the paste method has been ineffective more than it has worked, I had ordered an electric disbudder earlier this year. The first one I received was defective and the second one arrived too late for me to disbud Nougat’s twins.

I’ve been checking Nutmeg’s triplets daily as the timing of disbudding is critical to its success. While I was prepared to have to disbud them on different days, as it turned out, all three kids were ready for disbudding today. So this afternoon I plugged in the electric disbudder and gathered up the equipment I needed while it was getting hot. I started with the largest kid, the last born, and worked my way backwards since the first-born was, and still is, the smallest kid.

Here is the middle kid:


After putting the kid in the box, I used scissors to clip hair away from the horn buds and then once the iron was hot enough, applied the tip of the iron for four seconds. After doing the second horn bud, I went back and reapplied the iron to the first horn bud for an additional four seconds. I repeated the process on the second horn bud as well just to ensure I had a good “copper ring” around each horn bud. (Though to be fair, it didn’t look copper as much as it looked charred to me.) If I have to do this, I want to make sure I do it right and don’t end up with scurs. Time will tell whether I was successful with any or all of the triplets.

What to Do with Goat Milk

With four* goats now producing milk I’m having to be more and more creative on how to utilize it. Unfortunately, most of my goat milk “projects” – soap making and cheese – take more time than I have to spare currently. Ice cream is quick and easy but it doesn’t take long to run out of freezer space. I love milk but even I can’t consume more than about a quart a day. Luckily I have hogs and dogs, both of which are also getting milk on a regular basis. So, in an effort to reduce the overload in my refrigerator, from now through the end of October I am offering a special on goat shares. Please contact me for more information.

*will be five in another couple of weeks when I start milking Nutmeg again.

More information on goat milk (the highlighted phrases are links to the source material):

Here are 5 reasons goat milk is better than cow milk.

1. Goat’s milk is less allergenic.

2. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized.

3. Goat’s milk is easier to digest.

4. Goat’s milk rarely causes lactose intolerance.

5. Goat’s milk matches up to the human body better than cow’s milk.

between goat and cow milk:

Fat composition – The fat globules found in goats’ milk are typically smaller than those found in other animal milks, this makes them easier to ‘break down’ and digest in the gut. Furthermore, there is a higher amount of ‘medium chain triglycerides’ found within the fat globules present in goats milk when compared to cows’ milk. Medium chain triglycerides are a type of fat that is digested, absorbed and used within the body more easily than fats with longer structures.

Protein composition – The proteins found in milk can be divided into two main groups: caseins and whey proteins. For both cows’ milk and goats’ milk, around 80% of the protein present is casein based and around 20% is whey based. The casein proteins found in milk can be divided into four major types: alpha, beta, gamma and kappa caseins. There is a subtle difference in protein composition between the two milks with regards to the proportion of each type of casein they contain. Goats’ milk contains more beta caseins than cows’ milk, whereas cows’ milk contains more alpha caseins, particularly alpha-s1-casein which is understood to be one of the proteins responsible for cows’ milk allergy*.

Prebiotics – Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that encourage the growth and activity of the ‘friendly’ bacteria in the digestive system, therefore supporting normal gut health and function. Oligosaccharides are a type of naturally occurring prebiotic found in a number of food stuffs. There are thought to be 4-5 times more oligosaccharides in goats’ milk compared to cows’ milk.

Why is goats milk easier to digest than cows milk?:

There’s a difference in fat molecule size – The fat molecules in goats’ milk are much smaller than the fat molecules in cows’ milk. Think about it this way: imagine boiling a big pot of water and adding broccoli to make soup. If you were to add large florets vs. small florets, your body would have to work a lot harder to digest (bite, chew, and swallow) the bigger chunks of broccoli vs. the smaller ones. The simple difference in the size of the milk’s fat molecules makes it easier to digest.

It’s naturally homogenized – Homogenized simply means “to make uniform in consistency.” Fresh cows milk, if left sitting on the shelf, will naturally separate where the fat will float to the top – something that we find to be less desirable. To avoid this lumpy texture, we process our milk to homogenize it. The great thing about goats’ milk, is that it’s naturally homogenized – smooth and consistent without it undergoing a man-made process.

It contains less lactose (milk sugar) – Our bodies produce enzymes to help break down our foods, especially sugar. Goat milk contains less lactose (milk sugar) than cows’ milk, which makes it easier on our stomachs simply because we need less of a particular type of enzyme to break down the lactose.

It’s less allergenic due to the protein contents – One of the most common allergies in children under the of age of 3 in the United States is a dairy-allergy and it has a lot to do with a particular protein in the milk called Alpha s1 Casein. The levels of Alpha s1 Casein are about 89% less in goats’ milk. – which is one of the main reasons why people who have dairy sensitivities may get away with consuming goats’ milk as an alternative.

Hog Wild

I have a surplus of milk right now. The logical use of the excess is to feed the hogs but feeding in the small round feeding pans causes a lot of friction and fighting. I have been looking for a pig trough for several months and have visited several feed stores with no success. None of the on-line sources I have used for livestock supplies carried troughs and an internet search wasn’t productive either. Out of the blue a few weeks ago a farm/ranch catalog for a company I have never heard of before showed up in my mailbox. I flipped through it and lo and behold, discovered a steel pig trough that was affordable (even with the high shipping and handling charges that come with something heavy and oversized.) I ordered it and the trough was delivered this week. I’ll need to figure out a way to secure it, but in the meantime I poured some milk into the trough this morning. Now if I can just convince the hogs not to stand in it, it should work fine . . . .




I’ll move it further from the fence when I secure it so that the hogs can access both sides and then use a piece of PVC pipe or gutter to transfer the milk without having to enter the pasture.


The last kid is indeed a doeling. Final tally 9 kids – five bucks (now wethers) and four doelings. Six are gold and white so the buck’s coloring would appear to be dominant.

Last but not Least

I calculated the date for Nutmeg to kid on September 27. This morning however she was crying when I fed and I suspected she might be going into labor. I was scheduled to drive the truck up to Los Lunas, about 55 miles, to get new tires on the truck and on the trailer (those tires were in the bed of the truck). While I briefly considered rescheduling, it was something that really needed to be dealt with and I wasn’t 100% sure Nutmeg was actually going to kid today. When I got home early this afternoon, I checked and she was still vocal but had eaten most of her hay. This evening just as I was heading out to feed, she started screaming. I ran out and found her cleaning off a kid. She no longer seemed in distress so I went ahead and started chores. When I got back from the barn she had a second kid on the ground. It looked like the placenta was starting to be passed so I figured she was done. After chores I came in to get the sling, scale and betadine to dip cords.

First Born - Doeling just over 2 lbs

First Born – Doeling just over 2 lbs

Second doeling - just under 2.5 lbs

Second doeling – just under 2.5 lbs

After weighing kids I left everyone alone and came back in the house. A short time later Nutmeg started screaming again. I figured she was having contractions trying to pass the placenta but went out to check. It turned out that she was passing more than the placenta.

Cleaning off the third kid

Cleaning off the third kid

Triplets. While I won’t bet more than a couple of bucks on it, it looks like all three are doelings. I’ll check again tomorrow morning after the third one is cleaned up.

Third kid was 2.5 lbs

Third kid was 2.5 lbs

So the final tally for kids in 2016 is nine kids.

Unintended Consequences

The first year I was on the farm I put up a bird feeder. I stopped filling it once I realized that there were thistle seeds in most commercial bird feeds. Even now, years later, I sometimes run across this . . . .