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Home Dairy Schedule

Home Dairy Schedule

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Every goat owner needs to develop a monthly plan and schedule for raising dairy goats based on what works best for them. I wanted to share what we have developed over the past 25 years at my Forget Me Not Farm. This monthly schedule is meant to be a guide to new goat owners and should be considered flexible to meet your own specific needs.

 

December -January:

 

Does are dried off in preparation for kidding season.  Not only does this give the does time to recuperate and prepare for the new kidding season, but it also gives me a break from milking in the coldest months of the year here in Michigan.

 

February:

 

Kids are born. This is the most exciting time for any goat farmer with all the new, adorable faces in the barn.  By having our kids in February, the extra males we don’t need are big enough to get top dollar at the Easter Market.

 

March:

 

We are still feeding kids so not much milk makes it into the house.

 

April:

 

Buck kids are sold for meat to the Easter market.  Any buck kids that don’t make weight will be wethered and kept on the farm for our own consumption.  Yes, we love our goats too, but goat meat is both healthy and lean and since we raise our animals organically this is a very good source of meat.  With the buck kids off the farm we get to begin bringing lots of milk into the house.

 

Does are kept as needed to keep the herd going and any extras are usually sold to 4 H kids or others who are interested in starting with goats.

 

May-November:

 

We are up to our ears in milk. I love this time because I can make cheeses of every kind to my hearts delight.  I usually start by making a bunch of soft cheese to stock up my freezer.  I freeze them in 1 lb. packages, zip lock bags are great because they can be flattened out and you can stack a lot of them in a small space.  This cheese freezes very well for long periods of time so I try to have enough frozen to get me through the winter.

 

Next I get my Parmesan and Cheddars going so that I have plenty of time to get them into the aging process.  They can take several months to age properly and it will be winter before we even begin to sample some of them.

 

In-between we make all the fresh cheeses: Mozzarella, Provolone, Cottage Cheese, Panir, Soft cheese’s etc.

 

I’m also making a lot of soap.

 

August:

 

I start thinking about canning some of the milk so that I have a good supply on the shelf for when the does are dry.  Having 50-100 quarts stored in the basement is my goal.  Canned milk is good for making soups, sauces, gravies, puddings, fudge and anything that you use milk to cook with.  We do not care for drinking it as canned milk has the same properties and flavor of condensed milk. Home canned milk should taste just like the store bought canned, provided your milk has good flavor (not goaty) to begin with. I will be providing instructions on how to can milk this summer for those unfamiliar with the process.

 

September -October:

 

Breeding time and does are usually giving less milk than when they first freshened.  We milk right through the breeding season and by October we try to cut down to milking once a day. The goal is to get them dried off by December so that they have two months rest and can put all their energy into making healthy kids.

 

 

Mary Jane Toth is the owner of Forget Me Not Farm, author of multiple books, and is hosting the Hoegger Farmyard Cheesemaking Site. To learn more about Mary Jane Toth’s most recent book,  A Cheesemaker’s Journey, click HERE to read an interview with her about this fantastic new cheese recipe book. You can ask her cheesemaking questions directly on the Hoegger Forum. If you are interested in scheduling a cheesemaking class please email Mary Jane directly at maryjanetoth@hoeggerfarmyard.com.

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  1. by Davilyn
    Comment made on: February 4 2012

    Oh this is waaayyy too much work for me. I never dry off my does – they keep giving the same amount of milk and they don’t have to go through the stress of kid-birth and I don’t have to go through the stress of trying to sell kids I don’t need. I milk only once a day –

    To do this however I think nutrition must be paramount. I feed my does sprouted forage supplemented with organic bermuda and alfalfa hay. They also get organic alfalfa pellets when being milked. Free choice kelp and clay.

    A while back I found out animal grade and food grade, even organic, is not the same. Animal grade does not have to be tested. So I started making my own feed.

    I buy Great River Milling products, delivered to my home, from Amazon.com. For breakfast everyone gets oatmeal with molasses and Molly’s ‘Mo milk” herbs; sprouts, BOSS, and fruit.

    For dinner everyone gets huge helpings of fresh fruit and cooked barley and one cup of Organic Modesto Milling Dairy Goat pellets, BOSS and some kind of vegetable – they are partial to squash.

    For me it became important to address quality instead of quantity – The goats are happy and healthy and that makes me happy.

    Being a organic hydroponics farmer also – I wanted my milk to be as healthy as my growing products. I try to let other farmers/ranchers know that just having fresh milk shouldn’t be the priority – healthy milk and healthy goats should be.

    I have also developed my own udder cream which I feel works better than anything I’ve ever tried and keeps the udder very supple. Anyone interested can contact me and I will send the recipe.

    Some people have asked me about milking only once a day – does it bring on mastitis. As a Holistic Practitioner and a nurse with a good medical background I think the answer is no. As with people, illness is often tied to stress and nutrition. Tackle those and you cut your chances of illness dramatically.

    So for me kidding season is totally stress free now – I only breed when I have customers waiting for a “milker in the making” :}

    Davilyn
    Expressions of the Heart Organics



    • by Autumn7079
      Comment made on: March 6 2012

      Hi
      I would also like a copy of the recipe 🙂 Thanks



    • by newchristian
      Comment made on: May 13 2012

      yes I would like to have your recipe for udder cream also. Thanks so much



  2. by benourished
    Comment made on: February 16 2012

    I would like to have your recipe for the udder cream.
    THanks,
    MM



  3. by CMAShorty
    Comment made on: March 3 2012

    I would appreciate the udder cream recipe as well! Sounds like you are on top of things at your farm!



  4. by CMAShorty
    Comment made on: March 3 2012

    Mary Jane, your class at Langston University in Oklahoma was my first cheese class and I have been hooked ever since! My kids have grown up on home made Mozz pizzas and lots of milk, puddings and other types of cheese from Goats Produce Too! They are now grown with sons of their own and are very healthy guys. Thanks for adding a wonderful facet to their memories of childhood.
    I can’t wait to see the new book!!



  5. by beachbabies
    Comment made on: March 6 2012

    davilyn,
    i am very interested in your udder cream recipe. i’m not sure if it’s my computer or not, but i have no way of connecting with you aside from commentary here. the link to ‘my website’ brings me back to the top of the ‘my home dairy schedule’ page. anybody have ideas? thanx!


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