The good, the bad and the ugly from our little goat dairy. Oh, and the cute, too. Lots of the cute.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
If you've followed the blog for a while, you know about June. June was one of the first kids born on our farm. And June was the first adult goat we ever sold.
June was a silly, sweet clown of a goat, but did not have the best milk production her first year. She made enough milk for a family goat, but not really enough to stay at a dairy. So we found her a wonderful family and we threw in a second goat to keep her company(blog post to come on this story)and said our goodbyes.
We told June's new family, who have become friends of ours, that we would babysit her anytime they needed us. They took us up on it a year ago and June had her kids here at BHF last Chanukah.
And then she exploded with milk. June more than doubled the capacity of her udder in her second year as a milker, and we had some serious seller's remorse. But we were happy for the Hydes, who got a lot of good milk and obviously really loved old Junebug.
This year we babysat June again as her family took a last vacation before the arrival of their third baby. (Human baby, that is.) As the enormity of the prospect of milking goats while caring for a new infant and home schooling the other two kids set in, they began to wonder if they shouldn't re-home June and Emmylou. Long story short, we snapped her up. June has come back to Blue Heron Farm.
We learned a lot of things in the unfolding of this story.
First, it reinforced our idea of how important it is to sell goats to good families. We got to see June a lot in the time she lived with the Hydes and we were so thankful that she went to such a good home. It would be so hard to think of an animal you love in a place where they would not be treated like family. June was and is happy and healthy in both of her homes.
Next, we realized that you can't make decisions about milking potential in the first year. Many goats don't really come into their full production until age three or sometimes even later. This has been true with a number of our goats - they just keep getting better as they get more mature.
This leads to the fact that we can't raise babies. We knew this, but really - this is huge. One and two year olds will eat just as much as three year olds, but give you half the milk? Stupid. We knew this a year ago, but we're hanging on to Binder and Penny Lane anyway. Sigh. That, as you know, is its own story.
The biggest takeaway for me was the realization that I am going to stress any time we sell an adult goat. It is SO much harder than selling the babies you don't really know. We have a couple we have considered selling this year for production reasons, but I just don't know if I can bear to let them go. Even when they go to a great place - as June did - I know how much I will miss them.
We'll see if I can get over this. Because Miranda - while sweet as pie, just had a second mediocre milk season. If she doesn't get it together in year three, she may have to move on. I should probably start screening applicants now. Who knows how long this might take.
Blue Heron Farm is a small, family owned goat dairy committed to producing high quality, healthful foods in a sustainable manner.
Located on 10.5 acres in Field Store Community, Texas, we specialize in fresh goat cheeses, which are available at Houston-area farmers markets.
We are dedicated to serving a market that puts thought into their food choices and an importance not only on their own health, but that of the animals that are the source of their food.
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