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Monday, March 20, 2017

Flat Aggie Visits Shan-dy's Corner Goat Dairy



Hello Shan-dy’s Corner Goat Dairy is located in one of the top dairy goat state Wisconsin and is the home of over two hundred dairy goats, around eighty dairy cattle, forty five chickens, eight farm cats, four dogs, and three horses and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

Our main focus here at Shan-dy’s Corner is caring for dairy goats of all ages and breeds. A female dairy goat is referred to as a doe, baby goats in general are referred to as kids, a female baby goat is a doeling, a male dairy goat is a buck, and a male baby goat is referred to as a buckling. There are six breeds of dairy goats Saanen, Alpine, Oberhasli, Toggenberg, Nubian, and LaMancha. We have every breed here at our farm but Saanens and Alpines are favored here since they are known for their milk production. 

Our busiest time of the year is kidding season when kids are usually born in multiples from each doe. Our first round of kidding in 2017 wrapped up with fifty two does who kidded with thirty five sets of twins, seven sets of triplets, one set of quadruplets, and the last three being single births. With the ending total being forty four bucklings, and fifty four doelings. Our next round of kidding will take place in June this year with approximately the same amount of does. 

Our farm keeps all of the doelings that are born to raise up as replacements for the herd so we always maintain a consistent number of animals in the milking parlor. When the doelings are born we scoop them up with towels and dry them on the way to the heated nursery where they will receive warmed colostrum and left under a warm heat lamp to get the best possible start at a healthy life. After two feedings of colostrum they are then started on milk. 

For the first eight to twelve weeks of their life their main source of food is milk. We use a powdered milk replacer that we mix with water since we want to reduce the risks of diseases in them. They eat sixteen ounces morning and night out of a nipple pail which feeds eight kids at a time. The doelings are usually kept in the warm nursery for two weeks and then they are moved to an enclosed building with more room to move around and grow, and at that point they are offered free choice grain ration and hay so their curiosity leads them to start intaking other sources of food besides milk and will continue to grow on just hay and grain once they are weaned off of milk. 

Our adult dairy does are milked twice a day, morning and night approximately twelve hours apart to ensure consistent milk production. They are brought into the milking parlor and put into holding pens to wait their turn to be milked. We have a double twelve platform stanchion unit, and use five milking units. 

Right now we are milking seventy does and after June we will be milking close to one hundred fifty does. 

An average milking doe gives five to eight pounds of milk per day, and all of our milk goes into a six hundred gallon milk tank that is cooled to thirty two degrees so our cheese company, Montchevre, can pick it up twice a week to make delicious cheeses. 

The milking does are on a balanced diet to ensure great milk production of quality alfalfa hay in their living quarters that we feed twice a day and an 18% protein grain ration in the parlor at each milking. Each doe gets approximately two pounds of grain morning and night when they are in the parlor for milking and they eat approximately ten pounds of hay per day on average. 

Some interesting facts about goat milk compared to cows milk is that goat milk is lower in lactose, or milk sugars. For those allergic to cows milk, goats milk is a viable option. The fatty acids and triglycerides found in goats milk are also great for your skin, their moisturizing qualities help keep skin nice and smooth.  

For more Flat Aggie Fun check out the Farmer Math questions that go along with this report!