When we started dreaming about having a homestead. One of the things I wanted was a cow, so we could produce our own milk. I had read many articles stating all the great health benefits there are when consuming raw milk. I also had concerns about the hormone(rBGH) that was being injected into the cows, as well as what they were being fed, and how they were being raised. To my family and me that was what really made our minds up. We decided we are getting a cow (woohoo!). I started researching cows and fell absolutely in love with the Jersey Cow. How could you not with those big brown almonds shape eyes and those big ears makes me want to squeeze them with all kinds of love and the milk, oh it is so delicious with all that yummy butterfat sweetness.
My plan was to have this property with my jersey cow eating in a field full of lush grass, maybe some daisies outlying the white picket fence that keeps her in the property while the outside temperature which is an average 80degrees with just a slight breeze blowing through our hair. Ahhh…Yeah, then realty hits(SMACK), and I remember I’m in a desert in Arizona. Right now we are in triple digits for most of the summer. It would be more like she would be getting her shade from a Saguaro Cactus and praying for just a little bit of wind to help cool her down from the perspiration that has gathered under her arm pits and has saturated her clothes. (wait are we still talking about the cow). So now that I’ve come back to reality. My husband and I realized it was just not going work for our homestead. A cow wouldn’t be practical for us as a small homestead in a desert climate. For one thing she would need a good size chunk of land, and we would have to construct her a very big shade area, by the time we paid for her hay (because we don’t have grass) her supplements, and her upkeep it would be way out of our budget. we could probably buy raw milk cheaper in the store when we could find it. I was disappointed but not ready to give up. I had remember a long time ago a friend of ours had dairy goats. We had tried the milk and thought it wasn’t too bad. so, we both agreed let’s do dairy goats. I started researching dairy goats. Somethings that I kept in mind while researching is was there a local breeder that I would be able to get my Dairy goats from, or would I have to go out of state, would that even been an option for me (I had to keep a budget, and sometimes getting animals from other states can be awfully expensive). Another thing I kept on my mind while researching was what was I wanting from my Dairy Goat. I know I wanted great tasting milk. I wanted a goat to produce a lot of milk for my family (we are milk drinkers). I wanted to make other products with the milk such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream etc. I wasn’t sure of the size I wanted but I understood that some of the dairy goats can get up to 150 pounds and some are as small as 30 pounds. I eliminated the smaller goats because we drink way too much milk. I needed something that produced more milk each milking. It came down to 2 choices La Mancha or Nubian. La Mancha is a heavier producer of milk than the Nubian, but the Nubian had a higher butter fat content I guess you can say the Nubians are the “Jersey’s” of the goat world. Well we made our decisions La Mancha it was. Right, I know, I thought I was going to pick the Nubian too with the whole Jersey thing and all. Truth be told we couldn’t find any local breeders that had Does available in our price range. however, we had a local breeder of La Manchas. I think when you see a La Mancha for the first time your face tends to wrinkle up, and I’m sure you have this look on your face that says where’s it ears? I’m pretty sure That’s the face I had when we went to down to the breeders house for the La Manchas. I wasn’t sure if I would like this breed because to me the ears, I just couldn’t get over the ears, where are they and why. But I was completely won over by their sweet demeanor and great personality which is what the breeder said she loved about these goats. I told her it is sold, we bought her which she came bred but it would be a while before we can pick her up so we can make sure she got bred. We went home got our fence put up made her a 50 X50 pen, made a shelter for her, we started getting all the necessary supplies that you need to take care of a goat. About 2 ½ weeks later we get a call from the breeder she was so remorseful, it seems our goat got sick and passed away. Aww we were so disappointed but understood that these things happen, we have animals and we know they get sick and sometimes don’t pull through. She refunded our money and was very sorry for the experience we had. At first this may seem really sad, but I think this was all planned perfectly because what I’m about to tell you is a happy ending to what might seem like a sad story. My husband calls me up and says he just bumped into an old friend and they got to talking. He said we were just catching up, and we went to go our separate ways when he said “Hey if you know anybody that is looking for Nubian dairy goats, I have some for sale” WHAAATT!!” It was meant to be.
She is very much a princess of the yard. I couldn’t have asked for a better goat. She also came with a little extra
Her baby Mira.
Right now, we only have Shy in Milk. I milk her once a day and she provides us with 1-gallons worth of fresh milk. We absolutely love the taste of her milk, and we get asked “This is Goats milk?” I like to think it taste this great due to all the love, but I think it has more to do with nutrition than anything else. Which I will discuss in future blogs what I do for great tasting milk. I also try to stay as organic and natural as possible. For my family and I the Nubian goat works the best for us. I never would have thought I would have been a goat person but I really enjoy them. In fact I enjoy them so much we got another one.
By the beginning of next year Mira and Joy should be in milk, and we will have little baby dairy goats (can’t wait). Our heard is growing quickly. I am happy with the decision we made to rise dairy goats. They are very sweet, personable, and sometimes mischievous creatures, and I think they are a great addition to any homestead. If you are looking for more info on raising dairy goats I found this book very helpful.
Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger.
Just because, you can never have too many pictures of goats,
ChickenMoe’s Family Farm.