We've gotten a number of questions from people that love goats and have questions about our goats, goat milk and baby goats.
Just like every other mammal, goats produce milk following a pregnancy in order to feed their kids. We raise dairy goats (mostly Alpines and Saanens), which have been selectively bred for generations to produce an abundance of milk.
Goats grow up fast. Within minutes after being born they start walking around. Within a day they're usually jumping and kicking and enjoying life.
Over the first weeks and months of a goat's life a baby goat will naturally start sampling all the food he or she sees its mom eating. As a baby goat gets bigger, it starts eating more and more. A mother goat's milk production will usually be at its highest about 2 months after giving birth. That's about the same time that a goat will start eating more and more hay and other solid food.
Just like every other mammal, eventually, a mother goat will start weaning their kid. A fast-growing goat can be persistent and aggressive, and (just like every other mammal, we presume) mother goats naturally get sick of having a baby forcefully chewing on their teats all day.
That's typically when we start milking - after the baby goats have been weaned naturally, while the mother is still producing an abundance of milk. Dairy goats have been specifically bred to continue producing milk for months after their kid has been weaned and our ladies are no exception. Most of our goats will continue to produce between 1-2 gallons of milk a day until we stop milking to give them a rest.
After a baby goat is weaned, the mother goat is usually bursting with milk. They typically compete to see who can be milked first - jumping up on the milking stand looking for some relief. We would never milk a goat that didn't want to be milked. We've tried. It isn't fun for either of us.
All of the goats born on our farm stay on our farm for life. Males kids are castrated to prevent cross breeding. We only allow one or two pregnancies per year and stop breeding our goats as they get older.
We do not auction or sell kids.
We keep between 10-20 goats at a time. Our oldest goats have been with us since the day they were born.
Our goats sleep in a barn with heated floors and eat unlimited hay all day with access to fresh water and minerals. They also get leftover vegetables from our greenhouses and free roam to graze in the woods during summer.
All our goats have names and we raise them as pets. They're truly happy, healthy, and very much loved. While we do milk some of them, we don't raise them for their milk - we raise goats because we love goats!