Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We want ... a SHRUBBERY!

Never doubt that a small group of hungry, committed caprines can clear your land. Indeed, it is the most thorough thing that ever will.

-loosely quoted from Margaret Mead

We have some bushes around the property that we don't just want trimmed, we want gone. Goats are good for that.

After milking this morning, I put the four goats around this big bush. When I staked them out, the bottom of the bush was thicker, all the way to the ground, than the top of the bush.

You can see how seriously they take this. They began stripping leaves, then moved on to twigs, and then they even went after the bark.

That's Tamari - isn't she sweet? She's the favorite 'round these parts. See the dearth of bark behind her?

So how long did it take the goats to destroy the bottom of this bush so thoroughly? Forty-five minutes.

This is Physion. She moved on to the smaller bushes surrounding the big bush.


Candace @ A Garden of Blessings said...

Hi Sarah,
I found your blog just recently and love it!
I admire your fortitude in your homesteading adventure.
I was hoping to get some advice. We are getting milk goats in about a month or so. One is a 3 1/2 yr old lamamcha/toggenburg mix, the other an alpine yearling. Both are being bred this month.
I really like the lamamchas and found one for sale that I would love to get (also a yearling).
Do you think three milkers is too many for a newbie-I have a 6yo, 3yo, and 1 yo, and we homeschool. I'm worried about having enough milk, but don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

Sarah said...

Welcome, Candace! Thank you for your kind words.

Are you going to be hand milking? Three isn't too many for hand milking - five is my limit for hand milking because I have issues with my hands.

The real issue for you as a newbie is that if you get the third, two of your goats will be 'first fresheners'. Not impossible, not even really hard, they'll just take some more time and understanding to milk the first year. I went through that with two this year. I would suggest having hobbles on hand before the babies come so that if you need them, you've got them.

Have you discovered FiasCo Farms website yet? She has a wonderful milking stand setup that you can copy. She also explains how to do 'once a day' milking which is wonderful for homeschooling moms of young 'uns. You get to leave the babies on the mom, so you don't have to raise them AND you only have to milk once a day instead of being tied down to twice a day. When you are overwhelmed or need to go somewhere, you just leave the baby on the momma full time and you don't have to milk at all. You will get a bit less milk this way, but if you have three, that won't be such a big deal. If milk production is an issue, you can wean the babies at two months, milk three times a day for a week, and then milk twice a day until you're ready to dry them off. That combines the best of both worlds - you don't raise the babies, but you get more milk (if you're doing something like soap-making).

I'm excited about your goats! You're going to love your LaMancha(s). Alpines are beautiful - so beautiful - but LaManchas are just so sweet. And lots of good milk in the well bred ones.

Candace @ A Garden of Blessings said...

Thank you Sarah.
That's what I am thinking, leaving the babies on and milking once a day. That's also why I thought three might be a good idea.
I've been to the site you mentioned, everyone seems to love it! Thanks for the tip on the hobbles.
I appreciate you taking the time to halp me!