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Too Many Goats

Discussion in 'Everything Else Goats' started by michickenwrangler, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Jun 14, 2013
    michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler Loving the herd life

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    Ach, how do I get myself into these situations!

    OK, I had a small meat/milk business. Sold milk to a co-op, sold meat to whoever. Had my herd settled, knew all of my goats quirks, how much they ate, how much hay I needed and how much room I had. All seemed to be going well ...

    So then, my neighbor who had a cottage industry cheese/goat milk soap business winds up in the hospital. She's had degenerative back issues for years and it finally came to a head. Her doctor isn't even sure if she can ever walk again. She's still in the hospital. She certainly can't take care of her goats.

    What I was really interested in was her wether kids as I can barely keep up with my meat orders. So I got them, but she was almost begging me to take her milking does too. So I did.

    SO WHAT DO I DO WITH FIFTY (50!) GALLONS A WEEK!!!???

    I now have a total of 7 milking does, all of them in peak production.

    I don't want them, I'm tired of milking them.

    And I can't sell them. One has sore mouth. None of her other goats show signs of it.

    2 of the does are older, with long pendulous udders. One of the younger ones has sore mouth, and the other is so skittish I can barely catch her to milk her, who also SAT in the milking bucket last night.

    I feel guilty about selling them, both for neighbor's sake because she's trusting me with her goats and for buyer's sake because they could be getting a sore mouth goat. Yes, I know it clears up eventually but it does transmit to humans and other goats.

    So what do I do? I want them gone, but I don't think I'll be able to sell the older does, feel unethical about selling the younger AND I DON'T NEED THE MILK! Not only does milking take 3x as long (I have to catch the one and the older ones are a pain to hand milk), but it is a problem for me COOLING that much milk to Grade B standard. To say nothing of storage.

    Housing for more goats in northern Michigan is also an issue. It's summer now, but our cold weather sets in October.

    One solution I thought of, was to talk to husband about taking the goats back to their place, keeping them there, milking them there, and letting them deal with the milk. But neighbor is still in the hospital and husband works 12 hr shifts (he and my DBF work opposite days at the same shop). So right now, that wouldn't work.

    Looking into starting a Grade B Dairy, but the drainage is an issue for us since we live on the edge of wetlands and on the banks of a river and my well isn't legal (father in law hammered a pipe into the ground, stuck a pump on it).
     
  2. Jun 14, 2013
    bubba1358

    bubba1358 Ridin' The Range

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    What about feeding the extra milk to a few pigs? I hear they do great on milk diets, and am planning on doing this myself once I get a milk operation going.
     
  3. Jun 14, 2013
    bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' with the herd

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    that's a tough position to be in. I tend to agree w/your idea of moving them back where they came from. the problem there is getting to them for milking in a timely manner twice a day - or whatever it is.
    would there be anyone who might be interested in taking over her milking in order to get the milk, or anyone who would buy the milk from you to make the effort worth your while?

    I would consider having them humanely slaughtered (with neighbor's permission), freeze the meat for your dogs if it's not going to be good. the lady in the hospital has to understand that it's not fair to expect a neighbor/friend to take on her herd indefinitely or permanently.

    good luck with your dilemma
     
  4. Jun 14, 2013
    michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler Loving the herd life

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    A friend suggested that. I will try and get a hold of Pig 4-H today (don't have pigs of my own).

    As of right now, what the game plan is:

    I had one doe that kidded in mid January. I figured I could dry her up, breed her as soon as she comes into heat late summer for another January baby (she's a Canadian goat, she CHOSE to sleep outside last winter). I have another doe that I have a hard time keeping weight on. So I'll dry her up, try to get some weight on her, maybe even leave her dry next year to see how she does. One of Neighbor's has an udder that just about hangs on the ground and the teats are at weird angles (they stick out sideways, so it's a PAIN to hand milk her). I'll dry her up too.

    One 4-H mom approached me about buying one of the younger ones. The skittish one gave quite a bit of milk today, so I'll see if 4-H mom is interested in her.

    I also plan on seeing if anyone is interested in goat shares locally. Unfortunately, there's already a goat share the next county north and a cow share 6 miles from me, so there's already competition. :/
     
  5. Jun 14, 2013
    SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Loving the herd life

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    I would sell those goats if they now belong to you. People would jump at the chance of having a doe in milk. Just screen the buyers well. Either that or dry them off.
     
  6. Jun 14, 2013
    michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler Loving the herd life

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    I posted pics of the does in or 4-H Facebook page. I feel less guilty about them going to 4-H homes than strangers.

    Her husband stopped by and just left. Said she's going in for surgery tomorrow, ruptured 2, ppossibly 4 discs in her back.

    He said he wants all the goats gone as soon as reasonably possible. I'll post in here doe both does and doelings.
     
  7. Jun 15, 2013
    michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler Loving the herd life

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    Some good news on this front.

    People who I got the goats from still want to get milk from me. Also, I forgot that neighbor husband and my DBF work together. DBF just called, letting me know that the co-workers who got milk from them want milk from us now. Granted, they pay less than the co-op does, but still. It's a place for a few of the 50 gallons to go!