Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goat's Milk - Courtesy of a Phantom

Regular visitors to A Smallholder's Diary will know that we have two pygmy goats, Poppy and Lilly. However, these are purely pets and do not really contribute to our self-sufficiency efforts (apart from some manure I suppose). When we first got them we thought vaguely about producing milk, but this would mean introducing a boy goat to make baby goats in order to encourage the production of milk. This felt like just too much hassle.

When we came back from holiday we noticed that Poppy seemed to have a swelling around her teats. Fearing the worst we had the vet out a couple of days ago. We were expecting her to have diagnosed an infection at least, at worst some malignant lump that would require surgery. In fact the vet informed us that Poppy was having a phantom pregnancy and that the swelling was a result of milk collecting. So now we have to milk her every day! Poppy is really not impressed with the whole thing which means that it is most definitely a two person job - one to hold on to her and the other to do the milking. The first batch we had to throw away as she struggled a lot and put her muddy foot in the jug. The second batch was more successful, although we did not get that much.

While we are milking Poppy, Lilly looks on clearly rather bemused, occasionally nibbling at our clothes, which is quite off putting. We haven't decided what we are going to do with it yet - not exactly enough to get into cheese production. We have seen some soap recipes that involve goats milk, so that's a possibility.

The vet was not able to say how long this will continue - it could be a few weeks, or months, or perhaps even indefinitely! If this does continue we have not quite decided whether this would be a blessing or a curse - what would we do about holidays? We have concluded that pygmy goats are definitely not well designed for milking though - they are much too close to the ground.

The vet also told us that this phenomenon is known as a "cloudburst", which we think is rather poetic.

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Jo said...

It must be a bit confusing for Poppy to suddenly start being milked. I'll be interested to see what you decide to do with it. said...

can't wait to find out what you decide to do with the milk...poor old Poppy....and poor old you having to struggle along trying to milk her daily. I have to admit to not liking goats cheese very much but if it was a free offering as you have I am sure I could put it to good use.

Hope either it doesn't last too long or Poppy gets used to it and makes it a little easier for you!!

The Dream... said...

Have you considered ice-cream? I have NO idea if you can make ice cream from goats milk, or even if it'd be any good. But I was thinking about it just yesterday and wondering if it was possible!

Nearly 50 and trying to be Frugal .... said...

We had chevres nain a few years ago and I had to milk one and you are quite right, they are much too close to the ground to do it properly. Good luck.