We keep dairy goats for our personal use – milk, yogurt, cheese. We also use some of the milk for our wonderful goat milk soap. We do not sell goat milk anymore. Beginning July 1, 2016, IL regulations on the sale of raw milk are changing in a way which will prevent us from selling milk. And currently, we have milk from only one goat which isn’t quite enough for our own family use.
We’ve raised dairy goats since our second year here. First we had French Alpines for a few years. Then after having another baby it all got to be too much and I sold the 3 we had. A year or so later I decided that I wanted a goat again. A fellow homeschooling mom had a doe for sale that was “in milk” – just what I wanted. So I bought Daisy and brought her home. I was able to milk her through that winter and the following summer. I then I decided I wanted another goat and bought Lily, from a friend. My plan was to breed them every other year. It hasn’t worked out that way! Both Daisy and Lily have passed on, but all our does are descended from them.
All our goats are purebred Nubians, registered with the American Dairy Goat Association. Our does are: Petunia born in 2010, Dandelion born in 2011 – both are daughters of Lily – and Rosie born in 2010 – our only doe from Daisy. They were all born here on our farm. We also have Poppy Seed, one of Petunia’s kids, born 2013. Poppy Seed is a wether, being kept as a companion for our buck. Which brings us to Sage, our herd sire. He was born in 2011 at Six-Point Farm in Bloomington, IL. We purchased him in the fall of that year. We also have Rosie’s two does that were born in 2015 – Honeysuckle and Rosebud. Maybe they’ll be mamas this year. They are the first does that Rosie has ever produced – Daisy’s only granddaughters – and we’re planning on keeping them both for now. Another goal for this year is to replace Sage as our herd sire, so he isn’t breeding with his daughters
2016 kids born: Petunia had twins on February 9 – one doe and one buck. The little doe was sold at 2 weeks of age. All our other does had bucklings and they have all been sold. 2017 kids will be due in March.
In 2011 is we finally were able to put up a nice barn for the goats. Until then, they lived in an 8’ x 12’ shed. Now we have a 20’ x 36’ building! In it Keith built 6 stalls with 3 mangers for hay and a “hallway” wide enough to fit a wheelbarrow, AND left about 1/3 of the building free for hay storage, the 2 milking stands he built, and storage for other grains,
supplements, extra buckets, etc. There are 2 doors in two of the stalls leading to 2 good-sized outdoor pens so they can go in and out as they please. This past summer we decided that six small stalls wasn’t working so well, so we pulled out the divider on the two sides, giving them larger indoor areas for inclement weather, that still have access to the outdoors.
They’ve eaten most everything they want to eat in their “pasture”, though every year brings a new crop of weeds and grass that they can eat by sticking their heads through the fence. It eliminates weed-whacking along the fence line! We also feed them extra garden produce, weeds we pull from elsewhere around the yard and garden, and dried grass clippings when we have them. But mostly they get hay we purchase from local farmers and some commercial grain mix designed for goats. We also periodically give them loose mineral supplements, kelp, diatomaceous earth, herbal wormers, and other supplements designed for goats, as needed, or to just help them to be more healthy.