Natural Udder Care and Rectifing an Uneven Udder.August 1, 2011
August. The beginning of the bounty months. Our tomatoes are beginning to ripen, the peppers are hanging heavy on the plants, the carrots are getting ready to pull and the beans always need picking. We just bought a huge chest freezer to begin freezing our beans and other veggies for the winter market. Just in time really, as we have been pulling 15+ pounds of beans a picking from the first planting and I am watching the second secretly hoping they hold on ripening until these beds have finished, they won’t so we will have to make lots of dilly beans and do a good amount of freezing.
This week was the first week of milking full time for us. Hey-Zeus only nursed one side of Esther and I was too unprepared to fix the problem when I should have so he left us with one udder that fills up full and another that used to hang kind of flabby. I did a bit of research to find out if I could rectify this and if it was permanent or not. It isn’t. Next time she freshens it should fill evenly. I also learned that if we milked the smaller side more frequently we could boost production on that side. We have been milking her four times a day since Wednesday of last week. Milking both sides in the morning and evening and the one side at noon and right before we go to bed. There has been improvement, her one side is beginning to develop tissue again and be a little more competitive with the left side.
I also did some research into natural udder care, which proved to be a little disappointing at first since everyone wants to use bleach and hard chemicals to protect against disease and infection. I kept looking and finally came across a blog of a farm that used BioKleen Grapefruit seed dishwashing soap as an udder wash, and Grapefruit Seed extract diluted in water as an antibacterial rinse for their dairy cow. Graprefruit seed extract is pretty powerful stuff but if ingested it is not harmful It isn’t harsh on her udder, but I do have to be careful about where I pour it because it will kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria so too much in the septic system wouldn’t be very good. Their website has good instructions on how to make the mixes and a recipe for a natural udder salve: Freedom Acres Farm
Esther truly enjoys having her udder rinsed with a cool wash cloth and I’ve been putting on coconut butter to keep the skin nice and moist. She seems to be a happy girl now, and has become incredibly friendly, almost a completely different goat.
We made our first Chevre on saturday with a gallon of Esther’s milk and a culture from the New England Cheese Making Supply. We were too impatient to wait for all of it to drain so we squeezed some and mixed three kinds, black pepper, garlic-herb and maple syrup. They were well enjoyed by the family and thanks to them for the photographs of our lovely first cheese.
Our rice is also very happy. The hot sun these last few weeks has made it explode in seed heads that are beginning to sag and droop as they get closer and closer to ripening. I wonder what these two old trees think about a rice patty growing below them. I can imagine them as an old couple chuckling to themselves about young-uns and their crazy ideas.