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  • Rachel LaRue

#4 Our First Milk Goats

I always talked about never wanting to get a goat. They are notorious for escaping and getting into everything. Well, we picked up our new milk goat and her daughter on Sunday March 22, 2020. We have fallen madly in love with this pair. Laoghaire and Marsali (named after a mother-daughter pair in our favorite book and TV series Outlander) have been just what I needed in my life. Laoghaire is a first time mother who is one sassy lady and the best momma goat. She is always looking out for Marsali, who is constantly bouncing off the walls (literally) and getting into all sorts of trouble. Laoghaire is a 50/50 cross of Toggenburg and Alpine goat, two excellent milking breeds. She looks to have the body of an Alpine because she is so talk and sleek, but has the coloring and markings of a Toggenburg. Marsali is a 50/25/25 cross of Saanen, Toggenburg, and Alpine. Her father was a purebred Saanan, which makes Marsali an all-white goat.

I found this perfect pair on Craiglist (the most dangerous place), and reached out to the owner. We had planned to bring them home when Marsali was 2 weeks old, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, the owner suggested we bring them home when Marsali was just 24 hours old! I was terrified. I didn’t want to do anything that would harm her or Laoghaire in anyway. Laoghaire had just given birth the day before, and those first few days are so crucial for mother and child to bond, as well as momma to recover and relax from birth. The owner suggested that everything would be alright (and it was, thankfully), so we brought the suburban to the little farm in Centerburg, Ohio. Laoghaire and Marsali rode in the back of the suburban during the hour long trip. Marsali was all over the place while Laoghaire was just concerned about what was going on, they still hold true to that first day.

We made a stall out of the garage bathroom so that the pair could relax, adjust, and bond. Marsali climbs all over everything! Her favorite place is on the shelf where she climbs in and lays down like she’s in a nest. When we come home from work, the girls get free run of the yard. They don’t wander off at all, which amazes me, but I’m glad we can trust them! Marsali loves to play with the dogs and wander off, freaking Laoghaire out. I don’t know how she can be with a curious baby goat like her daughter all day, every day.

I never realized goats would be so much fun and bring so much peace and joy into my life. Every morning and evening I milk Laoghaire and get about a quart of milk a day. I have been learning to use the cream to make butter which tastes very good. I have never been a big milk drinker, but I have found ways of cooking with milk to use up the abundance that we have. Milking every day, twice a day, is so relaxing. Just you and a sweet animal doing something calming and pleasant, it truly does bring peace, until Marsali climbs on your back!

In college, I worked on two dairy farms. I always loved milking the cows and being part of the whole operation. It’s the traditional farm work that involves connecting with animals on a daily basis that makes it the perfect job. Who knows, maybe one day we will start a small dairy with our goats!

Happy homesteading,

Rachel


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