Since we started our journey to self-sufficiency, we have wanted to have some form of milk supply. We are all big milk-drinkers, so having a source of fresh, raw milk is very important to us. The question still remained…cow or goats?
When I compared the care and quantity of milk produced in both, the cow just produces way more than our family could ever consume…plus, the cow needs more land, hay, feed, and care than we can comfortably provide. It was looking like my only choice in milk for the near future would be goats.
Here’s the problem, though: goat milk? Bleh! That’s always been my thoughts, at least. I’ve never known anyone (or so I thought) who drank goat milk, and I was certain it would taste bad…after all, goats are stinky, nasty little creatures.
The more I read, however, the more appealing goats became. They are a smaller initial investment, require a much smaller space, easier to transport (since we don’t have a livestock trailer), require less food, less wormer, and the land we have is much more suitable for a foraging goat than a grazing cow. Plus, everything I read told me that the milk is actually good when it’s fresh. I read and heard many stories of how people were fooled into believing they were actually drinking store-bought cow milk.
The question still remained, though…can we tolerate drinking it? I mean, surely I could cook with it, but could we drink it or would I still end up having to buy milk for us to drink? Like I said before, we all love our milk – especially our teenager, Lindsay. She’s very picky about her milk. Would I ever get her to try it…much less drink it?
After researching the different breeds, it became apparent that the Nubian would be the best for our family. They produce less milk than the other breeds, but the average butterfat content is higher, making for a sweeter milk that is also good for cheese-making. They average about 1/2 gallon of milk per day, so with a couple of does in milk at one time, this would be more than enough milk for our family.
But, before we start preparing to buy goats, we still have to taste the stuff. I set out to find a raw milk provider close by and ended up finding the #1 Nubian breeder in the state only 20 minutes from our house! I purchased some of his raw milk, brought it home to the family, did a taste test, and wouldn’t you know it…it tasted like…milk! Even Lindsay and my mom thought so! (They are the most persnickety milk-drinkers of all of us, so they were the real taste-testers.)
So, there ya have it…goats it is.
We decided to take the whole family (minus Lindsay…she was on a trip) to the farm where I bought the milk and where we plan to soon purchase our first Nubian dairy goats.
After seeing his set-up, Barry and I have been busy putting up about 400 feet of fencing. We’re using welded wire with one strand of electric. We’ll hopefully have this complete within a week or two.
Barry has also been hard at work converting part of our barn into a divided goat barn. The left side will be for storage and milking, and the right will be their sleeping/eating quarters.
He still has to build the manger (which he also plans to build from scrap lumber) and eventually the milking stand, but we have plenty of time for that.
We are so anxious to get our doelings…hopefully within the next month or so. We will have to get them bred this fall so that they will kid next spring…then we will have fresh, raw, goat milk…so excited!
I’m linking up over at the Barn Hop today…join me in checking out what other homesteaders are up to!