Friday, April 15, 2016

Luna's gift... Milk...

Luna is a Saanen goat, a dairy breed that originated in Switzerland.  When she came to live here she had recently "freshened."  This means she had kidded, and was producing milk to feed her baby. That is how it is with dairy animals, they must give birth to produce milk. A good diary goat can "milk through," or continue to produce milk for a long time after she has kidded, sometimes years.  The amount produced dwindles, but it is interesting to know that they can continue to give milk without being bred.  In her prime, Luna easily gave us a gallon of milk a day.  That is a lot of milk from one 150 pound animal.

I waited a couple of weeks after she arrived before I tried to milk her.  She had been milked at her previous home, and knew the drill.  She'd hop up on the milk stand and enjoy a meal while I fumbled about and tried to learn the art of getting the warm, white liquid out of the goat and into the pail.  Luna was patient with me and it wasn't too long before I had mastered the skill.  It is a peaceful thing... milking.  There is a pleasant rhythm to the work.

To be honest, I was hesitant to try the goat milk at first.  I had my husband pour a glass of cows milk and one of goat milk, and let me blind taste test. I didn't know what to expect, but I suspected I wouldn't like the stuff.  Happily, I was wrong. Cool, sweet and creamy, we soon stopped buying cows milk altogether. It makes me happy to look into the refrigerator and see neat jars of fresh milk lined up in a row.

Once her kid was weaned and sold to another farmer, Luna produced more milk that we could consume.  We fed it to the chickens, we fed it to some young pigs we raised, we fed it to the dogs and gifted it to neighbors.  Milk from our little farm has gone to feed orphaned lambs, piglets whose mama was sick and couldn't nurse them, orphaned goats and once even a baby cow that couldn't digest formula.

It amazes me that goats can turn scrub and grass, hay and grain, into delicious, nourishing milk. My husband quips, "They are pets with benefits."


Andrea said...

Wow! I am surprised by how much milk one goat can produce. I really had no frame of reference I guess.

Nilanjana Bose said...

How lovely to have your own source of fresh milk on hand!

All the best for the rest of the challenge,