Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Weaning Maria

I had about 2 weeks of going out and milking 4 times a day for 6 oz. of milk a day if I was lucky. So I decided it was time to wean Maria. But how? With three goats, it's impossible to separate mother from baby without having a screming goat somewhere.

So I decided I would have to find a way to control when Maria nursed. The most obvious and convenient way I could think of was to tape the ends of her teats so that Maria couldn't get at the milk. I had some "Coach" sports tape from when one of the dogs had a wound that needed to have gauze pads taped over it. This tape is very soft and breatheable and tends not to stick to hair or skin as badly as other tapes. So, what the heck I said. And that's where my experiment with taping teats as a kid weaning technique began.

I started out on a schedule of milking at 7 am and 4 pm and taping the teats at 12:30 pm and 9:30 pm. This gave Maria the hours of 7 am to 12:30 and 4 pm to 9:30 to nurse, or a total of 11 hours. To start out with, this gave me about 12 oz. of milk a day. I'm gradually moving the times together, so that Darcy spends more and more time taped, and Maria is slowly getting less and less milk. Right now, I milk at 7:45 and 5:30, and I try to tape at 11:45 and 9, though that doesn't always work out. I got 3 1/2 cups of milk today--almost a quart.

This doesn't sound like much, but I'm very happy with this production considering Darcy almost died after the babies were born. Also, she does have more milk. It's just Maria is drinking it. If we get too much more than a quart a day, we'll have to start making cheese and yogurt. Shame :-).