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May 28, 2017: Stormy on the Horizon

Another amazing day. It’s late as I write this – a full day for me. Now time to focus on the Big Event, the one that took place today.

After dinner, a late dinner, Pete and I drove over to Cotton Creek Farm where were greeted warmly by co-owners Suzy and Mike Crosby. They are in the process of doing the evening milking. They are milking 17 plus goats – it takes at least three hours two times a day. We interrupted the evening milking – Pete and I both had many questions about milking, goat care, feeding, food preparation.

Suzi put out cheese and crackers for us – and both answered our innumerable questions. Their set up is the epitome of efficiency. The goats came into the basement milking parlor, two by two, hopped into their stand stations and began eating out of individual troughs. While eating and being milked, they can watch one another – a good idea, I think.

When it comes to milking there is a set partner and a set routine. This is why the alpines at Cotton Creek are so content.

Pete and I learned a great deal – for instance, that milking machines pulse, that is go on and off, --this mimics the action of an actual milker – Mike told us that if there was a continuous suck the goats would get hickies.

We also learned that feeding soy or corn will result in goaty tasting milk. We also learned that goats respond immediately to the word raisin! We saw more than one lifted head while we were at her place. And on the list goes.

Stormy was in the milk line up – she came into the milking area when it was her turn – hopped up on the stand and began eating her grain. She was very alert and somewhat friendly. And as Suzi said, she had a zap mark on her recently trimmed hide. Suzi further explained that she doesn’t lactate all winter – she tends to give a lot of milk early on and then taper off come winter. Furthermore, her energy then goes into growing a coat rather than producing milk.

Suzi and Mike sold her to us because Stormy won’t milk all winter. And we don’t want to milk in the dead of winter. It was in this respect, an ideal match.
When done, Stormy was put back outside for a bit. I then went and took a look at the babies, which were in an adjacent pen. I noticed two black and white goats – turns out they were Stormy’s kids.

After a bit we loaded Stormy into our pickup and brought her back home. It was a long ride for her. Once at home, we opened the back of the truck and she jumped out. We then lead her to Ranger’s pen and put her inside. Ranger came ambling around the corner of the chicken coop. He seemed to me to be mystified.

I put hay in the feed box outside the pen and Stormy immediately began eating. Ranger put his nose to hers and she nipped at him. He then began eating. The sight of the two of them, eating companionably, brought tears to my eyes, for I realized that we had done right by Ranger in getting him a buddy.

And Stormy is a lovely goat.

I will commence milking tomorrow. I’m committed now.

Next: 147. 5/29/17: Clinic Continued

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