The kids are weaned, the goats are in full flow and the dairy re-opens
It’s been a busy few weeks here at the croft. We separated the kids from their mums, earlier than anticipated due to sore and bleeding teats. Those little beasts have sharp teeth. For a while we hand milked the does and fed the kids with bottles, but they weren’t keen and were eating solid food and hay with great enthusiasm.
Once the mothers were healed up, we got out the machine and since then have been milking twice a day. These two goats are not producing a lot compared with some breeds but we are getting around 21 litres a week.
Every day is a challenge, so far we have made yoghurt, ice cream and butter. With the waste product, buttermilk we have baked some beautiful baps. The fridge is full of jars of cream and soon the cheese making will begin and we will be drowning under vats of whey. It’s almost a full-time job!
In other news we have switched Fin’s medication from Atopica to a relatively new drug, Apoquel which is extremely difficult to get hold of. It is not specifically for his particular problem but it seems to be keeping him stable and the difference in his overall demeanour is remarkable. His appetite is back and he is far happier. At nearly 15, we know we are not going to cure him of this awful disease, but we are doing the best we can to keep him comfortable and allow him to enjoy his life again.
With two goats in milk, the twice daily routine was taking much longer and was tough on the hands, so when we were given an ancient Alfa Laval milking machine (just like the one on Wartime Farm, if anybody is watching it), we were delighted. It needed quite a bit of work to restore it to full working order but once it got going, it made our lives so much easier and the goats don’t mind it either.
We have been busy making cheese, ice cream and have finally after many false starts, managed to make butter. In the past when we’ve tried, we’ve ended up with a solid cream instead of the butterfat separating from the buttermilk. Therefore, it was an exciting moment when we ended up with our first dish of home made goat’s butter!
Rather than the usual yellow colour we are all familiar with, goat’s butter is pure white but with a sprinkling of salt, it tastes delicious. It also makes great pastry, even though it’s a little difficult to handle (can’t imagine anyone on the Great British Bake Off using goat’s butter pastry) and of course the buttermilk is perfect in scones or soda bread.
It takes a while to make it. Firstly the cream needs to be separated from the milk and this needs to be collected for about 3 days before there is enough for a decent amount of butter. The cream then has to be beaten until it separates and when drained is shaped using the antique butter pats that we bought especially.
Perfect on home made rolls, muffins and crumpets.
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Smithy Croft, Strichen, Fraserburgh, AB43 6SL. United Kingdom