First Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat Kids Born on Alba Ranch

Jeff, the new buck

We have had a few new arrivals.  Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat Kids!!  Ana had triplets on January 9, 2013.

She had been locked in the barn in the kidding pen for about 3.5 weeks by that time as I swear she was going to explode much sooner.  Temperatures were really low with snow and high winds so very glad we had them inside.  There were two bucks and one doe born.

Smut, the new doe

The third kid born, second buck, was weak from the start and unable to hold his head up.  He died about 2.5 hours later.

The remaining doe and buck are growing and moving around well.  Doe is a little thin and I can feel her bones.  Buck is fat and plump so you know who has been at the milk bar the most.

The doe has a black smudge smut stain on her nose like she stuck it in a coal bin.

Twins together in the hay stack

Aren’t they just too cute?  all fuzzy, small, spotted, speckled and darn cute!  There is NOTHING cuter than a baby goatie.

Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats have an average butterfat of 7-10% and given that whole milk is about 4% that gives you an idea of how creamy and wonderful their milk is.  They are on par for similar taste and creaminess of a Jersey milk cow.  I can not drink cow’s milk but I can drink goat milk.  I have had at least 5 different breeds or crosses of full size dairy goats in my time and they all had some of that “goat taste and smell”.  Many were very milk, but I could still taste it and I am very sensitive to that smell. I would use the milder goat milk in cheese and cooking but never drank it straight.  I drink the Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat milk straight all the time.  Charlie teases me that my 24 oz coffee is a minimum of 12 oz goat milk and 12 oz coffee.  He says that he has seen darker tea before. ha!  I can’t wait to see how these little ones develop.  Their momma is one of my favorite milkers, so easy to milk and gentle on my weak and sore hands.

I have been wondering about names.  I have been kicking the names around of “Smut and Jeff”.  What do you think?  leave me a comment and tell me your name ideas and what you think of my idea.

A Simple Goat Cheese Recipe for the Homestead

I have had many folks ask me how I make my lovely goat cheese.  I do not use all those fancy additives, equipment, or anything outside of the ordinary kitchen utensils.  I have a very simple recipe that creates a white goat cheese that can be pressed to make a harder cheese that will slice when cold but not as well as a store hard cheese.  It can be mixed with cream cheese to make a lovely spread. It can have some of the whey left in to create a softer cheese that will not harden or crumble as easily.  Or you can drain all the whey off, cool and let the cheese harden and crumble.  Each is just a slight adjustment with nothing fancy required depending on your desired end use of the cheese.

1 gallon of goat milk (I use raw, some like to pasteurize)

1/2-1 cup of white wine vinegar

Nubian Princesses

salt and pepper to taste

herbs to taste

Bring the goat milk slowly to a just starting to roll boil, add in the 1/2-1 cup (you can use less vinegar but I like to use 1 cup for 1 gallon) of vinegar and stir.  Turn off the heat as you are stirring the vinegar in and you will see the curds and whey start to separate almost immediately.  You must stir as the milk heats up and while separating the curds and whey or the milk can burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.   This will affect your cheese taste.  The curds will be very small and if you let it set on the stove off the heat for a couple of minutes I have found the curds will start to drop to the bottom with the whey separating more to the top.  I use a very finely wire mesh strainer and pour off as much of the whey through the strainer into a bucket or pan as possible without getting much of the curds in.  This I do to start with so that the curds don’t get trapped in the mesh immediately and slow down the draining.  Once I get most of the whey poured off, I start to pour some of the whey and curds mixture left into the strainer and let the whey continue to drain off.  I have a clean dry tub or bowl ready and put the curds that the whey has drained off into the bowl.  I continue to do this with new portions until all the whey has been separated and I have just curds left.  Then I salt and pepper it to taste.  I generally need more salt and pepper than most folks would expect but it is specific to your tastes as well as what you plan on using the cheese for.

Plain:  I just use a small amount of salt and pepper and then cool

Rosemary:  I use salt and pepper and dried crushed rosemary

Garlic Chive:  I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh chives chopped very fine from garden

Holiday:  Substitute apple cider vinegar for the white wine vinegar to give a sweeter taste, add some agave or brown sugar, than spice with salt, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg.  chop some raisins or currants very fine and add.  Chop any nuts of your choice finely and add.

Be brave and try spicing it with various things.  Add a packet of cream cheese to the mixture while still warm and mix to give an added smooth texture for spreading.  cool in the fridge and enjoy.

Don’t forget, your chickens will love you if you give that whey to them for breakfast the next day!