We have six senior and two junior does in milk this year.
Rosie is very nearly our founding mother. The only goats in our herd that she isn’t related to are Hawthorn, and Orchid and her two doelings from this year. Otherwise she’s mama, grandmama, and great-grandmama, variously. The reason she’s only very-nearly the founding mother is that our first excellent milker Lily came slightly before her and provided, through her daughter Trillium, the Saanen portions of Marigold and Calendula. Lily and Trillium have since passed, so Rosie is the only remaining founder.
For her vital stats, I gloatingly announce that she started at 1 gallon a day in her first freshening at 2 years old. Last year she bumped up to 1.5 and left us boggling at her udder most mornings. It’s a gorgeous udder, too, though actually too soft for the milking machine (she ends up with bruises and mastitis when we machine milk her). Tri-colored with moonspots and a belly band, she is definitely the most gorgeous girl in the herd. She drops twins when she doesn’t dislike the buck, triplets when she likes the buck, and singlets when she really dislikes the buck. She’s just opinionated like that. Twins this year, Winchester and Chestnut, purebred Nubians and the eldest of the baby squad by a couple days.
We acquired Hawthorn in march of last year (2016) after she rejected her kids in a situation where nobody was up to the task of milking her every day. She is the whitest Nubian I have ever seen, but unpapered and not really showing the greatest conformation for the breed. She’s also theoretically about Rosie’s age. She’s chatty in a mournful, low register, and constantly begging for either pets or food. All of my girls like a few pets, but Hawthorn revels in them. She has a huge udder that carries unfortunately low and commonly picks up nicks and scratches that we then have to milk around. Despite that flaw she is a dream to milk if you know what you’re doing (Rosie is the girl for teaching beginners, perfect handles). Heavy production that we haven’t really measured, but estimates run about 1.25 gallons a day.
Orchid is a nosey sweetheart who loves open car doors, but respects someone yelling at her to leave it alone. Our only current purebred Saanen, she is gaining a genetic foothold in the herd with her daughter Valentina (who spawned Rowan, who this year dropped Citrine; suddenly we’re lost in the begats), and a pair of doelings this year, all three of whom are 50/50 Snubian crosses. This is another lady that we haven’t done precise measurements for milk production, but I estimate about a gallon a day. One of these years we’ll do a proper production eval, but for now it’s enough to know she’s making our cutoff point. She does quite well on the milking machine, unlike her twin Iris that we sold out of the herd this spring.
Marigold & Calendula: The golden girls
Marigold and Calendula were born a perfect pair of off-white, golden-tan finger nibblers. I commonly confuse the two, but they aren’t quite identical twins. In their first freshening last year they made the one gallon cutoff and proved amenable to both hand and machine milking. Marigold immediately produced twin girls (Sitka and Spruce), making her a star when her sister produced twin boys. This year they both produced twin girls and currently compete with each other for the favorite-udder award. They have nice conformation and really sturdy udders, and even though they started out in the itty bitty titty committee they now have perfectly reasonable teats for hand milking, and both milk out on the machine with just a bit of traction. Their biggest flaw at this point is that they really loathe human toddlers. At least they aren’t male-bashers like their mom was (Trillium once managed a direct headbutt to the groin of a really nice contractor we had ’round during the water installation work, but she would gladly assault any man that came into range without immediately demonstrating basic goat dominance behavior. I told them to smack her on the nose, but nooooooo).
Valentina was born on Valentine’s Day, 2015. She was unexpected. She is also the only baby we left to be raised by its mother, in this case Orchid. To be clear, she is actually named after Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space (and Rosie, her paternal grandmother, is technically named after Rosalind Franklin, so there’s a theme in here somewhere). The word that comes to mind when I think about her is elegant. She has very nice proportions, a very nice, well attached udder, and a superb pair of handle teats she obviously gets from grandmama. Her first year first freshening was a little below our cutoff, but first fresheners get leeway on that parameter (Nightshade got ousted for being a second-year FF and not making the cutoff, but also for being a screamer, and a brat, and short for the milking stand, and extremely violent towards the kids). This year her udder is abundant and definitely makes our production minimums.