Thursday, May 30, 2013

Need Mo Milk, Please

Life at Marigold Meadows is always full of learning experiences and sometimes that includes a bit of heartache.

We recently bought Peggy, a dairy goat who is half Saanan and half Nubian.  This mixed breed is for the purpose of producing creamy milk and lots of it!  According to the previous owner, Peggy was likely bred and due to deliver in the middle of May.  Like clock-work, she delivered twins on May 13th.  The twins were seemingly healthy at birth, however, Peggy looked miserable.  Her udder was so huge and congested that it looked like it would burst, but according to the pictures that I’ve seen of lactating dairy goats, this is “normal”.

Unlike our meat goats, Peggy’s twins were very quiet and “laid back”.  I never caught either of them nursing.  Peggy’s teats were so large and her udder so low to the ground that I was concerned that maybe the kids were unable to get her teats into their mouths.  Were they able to suck? Had they gotten the colostrum that they need so badly?

I put Peggy on the milk stanchion to see if the little ones would suck with assistance.  They both sucked.  The larger one was a bit more aggressive about it and would sometimes butt the little one away, but neither of them seemed to work at it very hard.  Were they unwilling or were they full from eating on their own before I came along?  I asked previous goat owners for advice and the standard answer was, “They would not have lived for several days without food.  They must be eating and you just haven’t been there at the right time.”  They suggested that I milk Peggy way down so that she would be more comfortable and that the little ones could get a better hold on her teats.  I relieved her of almost a gallon of milk!  While keeping a close eye on the little ones, I tried not to be overly concerned.

One morning when I went out to milk, I found that the little one had died.  My heart just sank!  To top that off, Peggy was not producing more than ½ cup of milk!  What were we going to do?  Not only was it important to have milk for the other little guy, we had bought Peggy because we wanted milk! 

Next learning curve… how do I increase Peggy’s milk supply?

I’m blessed with two helpful books on natural goat care:
  • Natural Goat Care – Pat Coleby
  • The Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm and Stable – Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Also, is a wonderful website that I return to time again.

As I researched, I discovered that the herbs: fennel, dill and fenugreek help to increase goat milk production.  Hoping that Peggy would like the herbs and that they would be effective, I decided to give it a try.  I powdered equal parts of each ingredient together in my blender and off to the barn I went.  First, I mixed 1 tablespoon of the herbs in with her ration of corn only to discover that she ate the corn and left the powdered herbs in the bottom of her feeding pan.  Hmmm…it was obvious that I needed to out-smart her.  So…, I mixed the powdered herbs with 1 teaspoon of molasses and she loved it!  I’ve been giving her 1 tablespoon of the herbs each morning and evening for three days now.  This morning when I milked Peggy, she offered 1.5 qt.!  I’m not sure if her supply will increase any more than this, but at least I know that the Little Spud is getting what he needs and we have enough milk to drink, bake, make cheese, etc.

Who would have thought that a few herbs would have such an effect?  It never ceases to amaze me how the Creator of this universe has provided everything we need. 


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc.  Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.  This is best left to the Creator of the universe.  In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted.  The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified.  The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

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