When the baby goats are growing and taking more and more milk, it gets to the point that I only get about two cups of milk from three does. That is hardly worth the time and effort it takes to disinfect the buckets and jars. Once the kids are two weeks old we begin penning them off at night. This way when we milk in the morning, we get more than a gallon of milk. We don't let the babies out until the milking is complete. Hungry babies stimulate the does to make more milk, thus increasing their production.
We have a larger pen that we initially used to raise our Pyrenees in when she was a pup. We keep the dog house in there for the kids to use. They like having a place to go inside and sleep. The kids generally don't nurse at night, and are fairly inactive so this is a good time to separate them from their moms. It also makes it easier to feed in the evenings when we don't have to milk and there are other chores to be done.
It's good to discover ways to make life easier. This year when I started penning up the babies, instead of following them around, picking them up and carrying them to the pen one at a time, I let the does do the work for me. I'm not sure why I thought of this, but sure am glad I did. When it's time to pen up the babies, I put a fresh handful of hay in the pen, open the gate and call the girls. They walk right in to eat, the babies follow them and I shut the gate. Now why didn't I think of this years ago and save myself some work and frustration? I don't know, but it works great! The does are easy enough to lead out by the collar and that chore is done.
I don't pen the babies off every night. We have had a few thunderstorms lately and I leave the babies with their moms, just for comfort. If we have plenty of milk in the frig, I let the babies have the milk until we need some more. This will change when I wean the babies and milk everyday, then we'll give the extra to the chickens, dog and cats.
I still find milking and watching the herd to be a very relaxing 'chore'. Well, when the babies are penned up and hollering for their breakfast and the does are hollering for their babies, it can be a little annoying. But that will soon be over and the babies will be weaned. They will holler for a while then, too, but it doesn't last long either. So goes the cycle of raising our milk animals. Before long we will be swimming in milk and making cheese for the coming year.
We hear more and more everyday about the hard times coming to our country and world. Do what you can each and every day. Even if you are not where you hope to be one day, learn all you can. Knowledge will get you a whole lot farther than ignorance.
Until next time - Fern