It didn’t cool down much last night. The air was warm and moist this morning when I went out to do chores. I started to sweat almost immediately and the ringlet on my forehead soon begin to drip annoyingly into my eye. My clothes and every piece of hay I came into contact with quickly plastered themselves to my skin….kind of like being in the shower without in any way getting clean.
When the weather is like this, it’s hard to believe the temperature dipped below zero a mere six months ago. Well..it’s hard to believe until I milk Hush. For those of you who have just joined us, Hush was the victim of frostbite on her udder last January. I made the mistake of trying to dry her off during the coldest week of winter. The super full udder and extreme cold made for a disastrous combination. When all was said and done, she lost one half of her udder.
With such a dire result, it may seem strange that I count my blessings every time I milk Hush. I am blessed that the damage healed so well that no milk leaked and she didn’t get any kind of infection when she freshened. What little milk produced on the frozen side was quickly reabsorbed by her body and that side dried off with no issues at all. I am blessed that Hush still produces 3/4 of a gallon of milk from just one side…even though I only milk once a day. While her healed udder certainly isn’t pretty, I am blessed that I didn’t lose her completely.
This experience has made me reconsider my approach to breeding the goats. I am no longer going to breed my goats yearly. I realized this year that I do not enjoy milking two does, nor do I need anywhere near that much milk. The first solution I considered was to keep only one doe with a whether for company. This would definitely have worked…but I have a really hard time keeping an unproductive animal around (Jack the Pony excepted). Then it occurred to me that if I kept two does and only bred them every other year I would have the perfect solution. I could continue to milk the doe that wasn’t bred until the next doe has her kids so we will have milk all year and I won’t be forced to dry off at any particular time. No worrying about frozen udders.
Experience can be a hard master, but the lessons definitely leave a lasting impression…