One of the largest commitments I have made towards having a more healthy food supply is the purchasing of two dairy goats. Goats are great animals, require much less space than a dairy cow and, at least in my opinion, have much better personalities. They are incredibly smart (mine frequently escape their locked pen), curious, playful animals and I personally believe that the world would be a happier place if people participated in daily goat watching activities.
Additionally the benefits of raw goat milk are numerous. Goat milk is much easier to digest than cow’s milk as the fat molecules are smaller and more easily broken down. Lactose is still produced, however there is evidence to suggest that other factors minimize the effects, such as certain anti-inflammatory properties of goat’s milk which minimize the immune response. Additionally goat’s milk has a higher calcium and phosphorus content than cow’s milk. Calcium and phosphate join in the body to assist with bone mineralization, however calcium can also help with other physical ailments such as migraine headaches and pre-menstrual cramps.
Lastly, and most importantly, goat milk does not taste like goat cheese. While it has a different flavor from cow’s milk, it does not have to taste at all goaty, especially if chilled immediately after milking.
All this is a very long lead up to the fact that I need to get my goat pregnant this fall so she can have milk next spring! Goats need to be pregnant in order to produce milk (unlike chickens who will lay eggs regardless of the presence of a male) and in order to get pregnant I need to take my girl on a date.
I am frankly totally freaked out about it for a couple of reasons. Last year, when I got my other goat pregnant, I took her back to the breeder I bought her from in order to get her knocked up and she lived with them for a full month. I have elected not to take my goat to the same location this year primarily because it is very far away and I can’t have my goat gone for that long.
So instead I had to advertise for buck services (male goats are called bucks, females called does…similar to deer) on Craigslist and am sort of walking into the situation blind. I have asked a lot of questions and generally feel like the breeder knows what he is talking about, but I have never seen his set up and am worried my sweet girl will be knocked around, mistreated, or injured. There is also the possibility that she won’t even get pregnant!
Suffice it to say all of this really makes me wish I had the space for a buck of my own. It really isn’t practical since I only have two girls and I am hardly making money off of them so a buck would just be an expense, unless I rented him out for breeding purposes. However I really don’t have the room as a buck can get very stinky when in rut and I wouldn’t want it to affect the flavor of the milk.
So basically I am at the mercy of other buck owners. I am sure that everything will be fine, but in the event I don’t like the looks of the buck, or the set up or anything I have no qualms about backing out of the agreement and going with someone else. So wish me luck and lots of goat fertility!