In the fall of 2016 we brought home two dairy goats – 8 week old Nigerian Dwarf sisters. We wanted a milk supply to supplement our pig feed and figured this was a good place to start. Plus, they’re really cute and fun! Meet Almond (brown eyes) and Cashew (blue eyes). They were clearly not ready to give birth and make milk when we got them, so we let them grow for a while and then added a buck, Pappy, to the “herd” in the spring of 2017 (also blue-eyed!)
So far, the goats have been our easiest animal to keep (knock on wood). They haven’t escaped their pens, been tormented by predators, or been high maintenance as far as care goes. We trim their hooves about once every 2-3 months, keep them stocked with grass hay, vaccinate them yearly, and play with them! We bred Almond and Cashew to Pappy between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2017, which should make their kids due in the spring after the weather warms up, in time to start milking once the human kids are out of school for the summer!
Sure enough, on April 21 Cashew surprised us with one little white buckling, named Peanut! Then, two days later, Almond had triplet doelings! One was still born, but the other two were healthy despite their small size – the black and white girl is “Pepper” and the white one is “Pecan.” All three babies were blue-eyed! After about 1.5 – 2 weeks of nursing they had doubled their birth weight. Around 6 weeks of age we will start the weaning process and try to find the kids new homes so we can get on a full time milking schedule – we can milk up until about one month before the next round of kidding!
Here is a video of our first time milking Cashew: