Milk Maid Ranch

There's Nothing Like A McIntosh

Milk Maid RanchIn today’s world, most people think of a computer when they hear the word McIntosh.

But, for those of us born before computers, and there are still plenty of us around, it means the crisp, red sign of fall in New England. Macs are also grown in the midwestern states, but they don’t get to the stores until October and are only around until December. I started this article the day before the November/December issue came out so my timing seems to be right for this.

I was born and raised in Connecticut, and each fall there was nothing like taking a short ride to a fruitstand in Watertown, Connecticut, to get a basket of Macs. The apple trees covered the rolling hills and it always meant fall was in the air when these apples hit the stores.

Mac Apples

Today, I live in Texas, and each September I start thinking the Macs should be out soon. This year was no different, and a few weeks ago when I walked into the store, there they were, in a big display at the beginning of the produce section. I bought a basket of them and on the way home the temptation was too much for me. While driving I had to rub it on my jeans to get it shinny and that aroma, that only a Mac has, hit my nose.  Oh, the memories that flooded my brain.

While growing up, my best friend had horses and we would ride over to the farm that raised McIntosh so we could buy some on the way back from our ride. We each bought one for us and one for the horses, and I’m not sure if they liked them better than we did.

Some years ago I was back in Connecticut to see my family, and my childhood friend has turned out to be a lifelong one. We spent most of my visit together, and one day she asked me what I wanted to do. As she still had horses and we had not ridden together in many moons, I said, “Let’s go on a trail ride.” Her eyes lit up and the next morning, we were on the trail. We ended up riding to the fruit stand that we went to every year to buy Macs. To my surprise, the owner was not only still alive but there waiting for us. My friend had called him to let him know I was visiting, and he picked out a basket just for me. The only thing is we were on horseback and had no way to carry a basket of apples.

Well, let me tell ya, I wanted those apples in the worst way and as we had on bulky flannel shirts, we tucked the shirts in and filled them up with the apples. It was an amusing ride back to the barn and when the horses trotted, well you know what I mean. This is the memory that hit my brain when I bit into that apple on the way home from the store a few weeks ago. When I got home I had to call my friend. This is what McIntosh apples do for me, they remind me of the simple things in life that mean so much and I can’t put a price on.

Macs & Sauce

My grandmother and mother always made applesauce with Macs and so do I. Here’s the recipe for applesauce.

20 apples will make 3 quarts of sauce

Peel, cut into 4 pieces and core apples. Wash them after coring. Put in a large pot on the stove on medium heat, do not scorch. I say this over cooking in a microwave because the smell of the apples and cinnamon will fill the house and watch everyone’s eyes as they come home. You’ll get a kick out of it.

Add 2 cups hot water, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 4 shakes nutmeg.

Let it simmer and stir the apples every so often. McIntosh apples will break down in about 20 to 30 minutes. No chopping needed.

When they cool a bit put into Mason jars and put lids on them. They can go in the fridge or freezer, but be prepared to make another batch because the children will eat more than you think. In the fridge it will last close to a month. Put over ice cream and you’ll be a hit with your children and their friends.  

Suzy Minck lives in Stephenville, Texas, with her husband of 30 years on Milk Maid Ranch.

Playing With Cattle Genetics

Milk Maid RanchSo, what’s so new about breeding cattle and playing with cattle genetics? Well, with so many people homesteading and many only have a cow or two, a bull doesn’t have to be in the barnyard or pasture 365 days a year. The expense alone just to buy a bull would make some of your mouths drop. Cattle prices in the U.S. have jumped up in the past few years, and it’s not uncommon to pay a few thousand dollars for a bull. Then feeding him will be costly and if there are cows on the common fence, well, that’s a problem in itself.

We have one short-legged Irish Dexter cow and one standard Jersey heifer. Why would I need to buy a bull? Well, I didn’t. My Polled, red Dexter bull was born to me, and he is what I wanted from his dam. At weaning, she was sold because I wanted to keep him. Sometimes I can get creative with names but really, he is a Red Bull, get it? I don’t drink the stuff but I do like that red bull on the can so the name fit for two different reasons. 

Red Bull 

Please keep in mind with most of the standard-sized cattle breeds, the bulls need to be 18 months to 2 years of age before they can cause a cow to get pregnant. Not so with the Irish Dexter. Red Bull was 38 inches tall and 10 months old when he bred Mahogany and she took (got pregnant) the first time he bred her. She’s due in March. The month he turned a year, he bred the Jersey heifer. I hear some of you laughing. Yes, he did reach, and at that time he was 40 inches tall. Jersey cows are taller than a Dexter bull, and he’s a long-legged Dexter by the way. Still shorter than a standard Jersey cow, but believe me, when a bull is following a heifer in her cycle, he’ll figure it out. He did, and she is due in June. She took the first time also, as I expected.

Well, here’s where the “Playing” comes in. I’ll try to make it simple, not promising that.

Down the road from me is a dairy. Over the years, the owner, his wife and I have come to know each other and we talk about our cows and goats. They are from Holland, and when we met and I said I have Dexters, their faces lit up. They love them but Dexters don’t produce the amount of milk they need to make a living. Well, we got to talking about my Jersey heifer and all the milk she’ll be producing next year, really, do I need 6 to 7 gallons per day? NO! So, we got to laughing about the cross of the Holstein and my Dexter bull. It got to the point that we made a deal for me to get two heifer calves, so they can nurse the Jersey cow, by my bull and out of my neighbor's cows.

So, the day came and I delivered the bull after he had his shots, wormed and semen tested to make sure he had enough stuff to do the job. The vet said, “He has enough and then some, if he can reach.” I already knew he could.

Red Bull 

The dairymen picked out 10 virgin heifers for Red Bull and, looking at him next to them, they were Amazons. I could see him reaching a few. Red Bull was there for a month, and as I drove by every day, I’d stop and walk through the herd or just watch from the road. One day, Red Bull was head to head with a heifer, pushing her to the manure pile. He got her to the right place, climbed the pile and bred her. I was in my truck laughing so hard and noticed the owner in his loader doing the same. We both have plenty of funny stories to tell about Red Bull's visit.

The day came when he had to come home. The owner said he wanted to show me a heifer. We went into the pen of about 75 head of short yearlings, meaning they have not reached a year old yet. He was looking for a shorter (in height) heifer that was 50 percent Holstein-50 percent Belgian Blue. Here’s the link if anyone wants to see a double muscled breed. And here’s a little beef lesson. Holstein cattle do not produce meat on their bones. They are a milk-producing animal. Please don’t waste your time and money raising a Holstein steer for the freezer. He’ll eat more than the amount of meat you’ll end up with.

The owner has “played” with AI’ing (Artificial Insemination) some of his Holsteins with Belgian Blue semen and adding more meat to the offspring. With their family of six that includes four sons, they need the meat aspect. Well, I see this heifer, there’s no doubt she is half Belgian Blue. He wants to breed her to Red Bull.

For those of us who love the genetics of our livestock, we find this very interesting. This heifer is 50 percent heavy milk producer/50-percent heavy beef producer. Her calf will be 50 percent Dexter, which is a milk and beef producer in a smaller bovine (cow), and 25 percent each of the other two breeds I mentioned. Heifer or bull calf, it will be mine, and waiting to see this youngster seems eons away right now. It will be interesting, and as I am but one breeder of Miniature Alpines in the U.S., there may just be a new breed of milk/meat producing cattle in the making.

I do have to say this, there have been others who have asked me about using Red Bull to breed their cows. Please keep this in mind: When your bull goes to another farm to breed cows, there is a risk he’ll come home “dirty.” This means the cows he breeds may have an infection or an illness that he will get by breeding them (VD). Red Bull will be tested for VD before going to each farm and tested again when he leaves so I know he is “clean.” The best way to keep him safe is to have him breeding only virgin heifers. I know, you say someone will slip in a dirty cow and that is possible. That’s what testing the bull is for. If he’s tested before and after breeding, you’ll know where he picked it up, and he will be treated quickly for it. He also won’t go back there for breeding. It’s a gamble.

Miniature Alpine dairy goats are being developed here in the U.S. along with other mini dairy goat breeds.

Suzy Minck lives in Stephenville, Texas, on Milk Maid Ranch with her husband of 30 years and has been breeding livestock for 31 years. 

Pulling a Kid, Part 3

NOTE: For those of you that don’t like to read bad things, well, it’s up to you to read it or not.  

Pulling a breach kid. There are 2 different breach ways, really 3. The first is: hind feet come first (most common breach).  You’ll know right away the kid is breach as the bottoms of the hooves are facing up. They will show as a white pad & soft. When you have a kid born look at how the bottoms of the hooves are white and spongy till they stand up and that part comes off. If the water did not break yet, then pinch it to break the bag. The kid needs to come out fast, I mean within minutes. In this direction the kids head comes out last which means when the water breaks the fluid goes down the lungs. This is the reason to get the kid out fast. You have to remember that gravity is pulling against the kid and the heavy end is up front. When I see this I opt for turning the kid so it’s in the correct direction. I do break the water, push the hind feet back in and find the front feet, both at the same time if I can. Then the head better be facing the front feet as well. If there is only one kid this is easier. Turning is fast if the kid has its head in the right place. Some doe’s are small inside while others are like the Grand Canyon. If a single kid, it’s still easier to turn. Just put the 2 hooves between your fingers and turn them in a clock direction if using your right hand. When the feet are in the birth canal, make sure you feel the head also to make sure it’s not facing over the kids back. Then you are good to go. You can keep pulling the kid out. But hold it upside down to get the fluid out of the lungs. Coughing is good, the kid, not you. Now, if I see the bag is full of brown or yellow yoke stuff, the kid is stressed and it comes out breach, I won’t turn it. Remember when the legs are out to pull downwards towards the mom’s hind feet. The faster, the better. I say this but it will take time. Pulling a kid is not the fastest thing in the world. It’s just the fastest way to get the kid out.  

 Merlot 1 28 13 

MMR RB Merlot 12/20/12

Another breach way is the hind end (butt) coming. You don’t know this till you have to go inside. Your finger will most likely find the rectum first and the tail. You have to push the kid forward, find the hind legs, follow to the back hooves and bring the hooves up and into the birth canal, don’t turn as it’s probably been long enough. Just get the kid out.  

The 3rd way to have a breach kid: This has happened only 2 times, I went in to just below my fingernail and there were both hocks. If you try to picture it in your mind, you’ll understand how I felt. My heart sank. The water had already been broken for some time so I already knew the kid was dead. A large one at that. With both hind legs tucked up under the kid, and in the birth canal to boot,
this kind takes time. This one was 2 hours worth of time. I had to work my middle finger to the front of a hock and hook it to try to get the leg out straight. This was an hour just for the first leg. When it was out, there was more room to get the second leg. This doe was in labor  or some time and I didn’t  know it, plus the afterbirth was wanting out also. She was not happy and being only 10 months old, I’m amazed she made it. (**I didn’t breed her at 5 months old, I have no clue how she was bred so young but it does happen.) They don’t read the books we write about them.  

 Juliana 2nd gen 

MMR NA T-Bird 12/10/12

Then comes the pulling and I mean with everything I had as I wasn’t getting any help from her being in labor, she’s not pushing that much and may be trying to hold the kid in. She was screaming her head off and I had to block it out so I can do my best to save her. If not, I loose her also. That’s not an option for me. Loosing mom also, for me, is total defeat.  

I had to pull this kid so hard that I was pulling the dam’s body with the kid. I ended up with my back side on the ground with my feet against her bottom to keep her in place. To tell the truth, I didn’t hear her screams after a time as I was fixed on the kid getting out. The shoulders were the worst part, thickest aspect of it. When they were past, the neck and head came easy. This took 45
minutes of pulling and my body yelled at me the next morning to remind me of it. Mom was bleeding but only drops and I was very happy for that. She got ½ cc of LA 200 to ward off infection. She went to eating hay right away which pleased me.  

The worst way to pull a kid is the next post and I warn any of you with weak stomachs. Crying may happen.  

Suzy Minck
www.milkmaidranch.com

Pulling a Kid, Part 2

                            Pulling a kid, Part 2 

Remember his information is “in general” as not every labor is the same  

and for the most part, the doe won’t have a problem.  When only one leg  

is out and the nose is showing, this is not a big issue.  The kid can still  

be born without your help. If the leg is over the head, just  move it into  

the normal position. This means you have to go in and feel it.  But, it is  

not harder for mom to deliver with the leg back. If one leg is back, it will  

give more room for the head.  This is really, not an issue. Mom can do it  

with me watching; but if the head is also back, go for the other leg to be  

correct. This means going deep to hook the knee with your finger. It will  

slip out easier. If you see one hoof and the nose, she can do it.  I’ve had  

some kids when finely in the right direction they shoot  out with the next  

push from mom. YEAH! 

 Head and leg out The photo above is of 1 front leg and the head. She delivered fine. The kids tongue is still nice and pink so that was good. This was a doe kid.

Now, I’ve had plenty of heads coming and no feet. NOT fun. The shoulders get  

hung up on the pelvis. So, the head HAS to go back in so you can get at least  

one front hoof in the exit lane. Again, if mom is stressed, get the other hoof and 

GET THAT KID OUT! I better say that when things, feet and head, are in the 

correct position, it goes better.  To me, I don’t do anything till the water breaks.  

If mom is pushing and pushing with nothing happening, I will go in with fingers  

only to “see” what is going on by feel. If I have to break the water, that kid is  

coming out with my help. Jumping the gun is a thing I have to weigh. If I break  

the water and feel a foot, then I may give it 15 minutes. All this does depend on  

how far apart the contractions are. If any of you have been in labor, you know  

what I mean (sorry guys). You don’t have to pull with mom pushing; she’ll  

push when you pull also.  When the kid is past the shoulders, pull with the kid  

heading toward moms hocks, NOT straight out. Downwards motion. Mom can 

 be standing or lying down. Remember, downward motion, not straight out.

 Chardonnay frontThis doeling is MilkMaidRanch NA Chardonnay and is a 2nd generation Mini-Alpine that is polled, meaning she won't grow horns. She is a big kid and a single but with some pulling she is fine and growning nicely. The kid's back can break if straight out.  

 

I hope these will be read in order. You may print them out for future use. 

The harder deliveries will be in the next post.  

Suzy Minck   www.milkmaidranch.com  



 

  



 

 

 

Pulling a Kid Part 2

Remember his information is “in general” as not every labor is the same and for the most part, the doe won’t have a problem.  

When only one leg is out and the nose is showing, this is not a big issue. The kid can still be born without your help. If the leg is over the head, just move it into the normal position. This means you have to go in and feel it. But, this is harder for mom to deliver with the leg back. If one leg is back, it will give more room for the head though.  

 Jamacia and Rhet 12 10 

These are brother and sister and they were born in 2010, I had to assist.

This is really, not an issue. Mom can do it with me watching; but if the head is also back, go for the other leg to be correct. This means going deep to hook the knee with your finger. It will slip out easier. If you see one hoof and the nose, she can do it.  I’ve had some kids when finely in the right direction they shoot out with the next push from mom. YEAH! 

Now, I’ve had plenty of heads coming and no feet. NOT fun. The shoulders get hung up on the pelvis. So, the head HAS to go back in so you can get at least one front hoof in the exit lane. Again, if mom is stressed, get the other hoof and GET THAT KID OUT! I better say that when things, feet and head, are in the correct position, it goes better.  To me, I don’t do anything till the water breaks. If mom is pushing and pushing with nothing happening, I will go in with fingers only to “see” what is going on by feel. If I have to break the water, that kid is coming out with my help. Jumping the gun is a thing I have to weigh. If I break the water and feel a foot, then I may give it 15 minutes. All this does depend on how far apart the contractions are.

If any of you have been in labor, you know what I mean (sorry guys). You don’t have to pull with mom pushing; she’ll push when you pull also.  When the kid is past the shoulders, pull with the kid heading toward moms hocks, NOT straight out. Downwards motion. Mom can be standing or lying down. Remember, downward motion, not straight out.  

 Rhet 4 12 10 

This is MilkMaidRanch DJ Rhet Butler and he is the buckling in the other photo on the right. He is now one of my 1st generation Mini-Alpine breeding bucks. He is very flashy.

The kid's back can break if straight out.  

 I hope these will be read in order. You may print them out for future use. 

The harder deliveries will be in the next post.  

Suzy Minck   www.milkmaidranch.com

Pulling a Kid, Part 1

Pulling a Kid, Part 1  

I've had some questions about pulling a kid. First off, if you have never seen it done, call a vet but if you want to, it really isn't hard when you know what way the kid is laying inside. Mom will be in labor so she will help as she will be pushing and you will be pulling.  I want a doe to try by herself though. For the most part, I go by gut feeling as to whether I should pull. If the water broke and I don’t see at least one foot within 15 minutes, I go in. Rings and watch off, hands washed and a tube of K-Y jell in hand to make it easier on the doe, and me to get my hand in there. About an inch inside, if I feel a very tiny hole that only a finger can get in, she has NOT dilated enough so STOP.  She needs time. No one can say how long that will be but if the water did break she should be dilated. (Normally, if she has not dilated, she won’t be pushing so the water will not break, but it can happen.) 

 MMR NA T Bird

This little doll is MilkMaidRanch NA T-Bird. Her dam is named Mercedes so I'll be naming her kids after cars. T-Bird and her twin sister, Getta, were an easy delivery for mom.

When I go in a doe, my eyes are closed so I have to rely on what I am feeling.  If I feel 2 hooves good, if I feel 1 hoof, it’s not that bad. Then I’ll want to feel for the knees or hocks. The knees mean the kid is in the correct position for a normal birth. If only 1 hoof is found, I will feel for the other being over the head. If so, all I do is, move it off the head; that will be either to the right or to the left. 

Normal position is both front hooves (pads of the hooves will be facing the ground), then the nose. Inside mom the legs can be bent at the knees. That will stop up the works. I can just use my pointer finger and get it behind the knee and slip the lower leg out. I will take one leg, above the hoof and gently pull it forward to bring the elbow out, giving the kid more room. Then repeat the other leg. You’d be surprised at the room it will give the head after the elbows are free. Within the next few pushes I should be able to see the nose. I DON’T clean the nose off till the head is really out. The kid will still be getting oxygen from the umbilical cord being attached. 

 Chardonnay 1 7 13

What a wonderful little girl MilkMaidRanch AN Chardonnay is. Not only is she beautiful, she's a Polled doe. Polled means she won't grow horns. I did help with this delivery because she was a single kid and they are larger so it's harder on the mom. Her dam is fine and a great mom.

If I feel feet but no nose, then I feel deeper and if I come to a wall, this means the head is back and I’m feeling the neck. I push the front legs back in to give me room to move around to find the head. My hands are small enough to be the same size as the kids head. If I can, I’ll get my hand around the head with the nose being in my palm to guide it towards the exit sign that is facing out. Only kidding about the sign but this is a touchy subject and I wanted to lighten it up a bit.  

If I let go of the head, it will go back to where it was, so when I get my hand facing the way out, I take my pointer finger and middle finger and hook them behind the ears while my thumb can be under the jaw. With my other hand I can have a hold of the legs and be pulling just enough for them to be a guide in the correct direction. If there are twins (or more) the kids will be smaller and easier to deliver. When the head is out, by all means I will clean off the nose so it can take its first breath. At this point I will let mom smell my hands and she will start cleaning my fingers, this is very good. Sometimes I let mom push the rest of the way, if it was hard on her, I do the rest and that means get the kid out. You NEVER want to pull straight out but bring the legs down towards her hocks (the elbows of her hind legs). If I feel it was stressful on the kid I will get it all the way out and take both hind feet and hang it upside down to let the fluid out of the lungs. It will be coughing and sneezing, GOOD. I will also pat the sides to help get the fluid out. Then put the kid by the mom and she’ll want to start cleaning it off. I don’t towel dry the kids as I want the mom to do her job of cleaning. 

 Tender Moment 

OK, everyone say, "Awww". Esther spit Becca out without a problem. This was within hours of her being born. Too cute for words really.

As we don’t know how many kids are in there before they are born, the way to tell is after the first kid is born, there will be a red sack hanging from the doe if it’s a single kid. If there is a twin or more, the red sack will not be there. Over the years we’ve had many quadruplets born and after the 3rd kid I knew there was still another because of this.   

My doe’s nurse their kids for at least 8 weeks, sometimes longer depending on other things so I don’t take the kids away from the doe. Please keep in mind that some breeders bottle feed all the kids, I don’t have CAE in my herd so my doe’s will nurse their kids. CAE is passed from mom to kids in the milk. It stands for CAPRINE ARTHRITIC ENCEPHALITIS which is Arthritis. If you want to read up on it you can do a search on Google and it will come up by typing “CAE in goats”.  

 Nancy and Country Queen 

Don't you just love Queen's markings on her face? Nancy, mom, is a 2nd generation Mini-Alpine and Queen is a 3rd generation. Your classic Alpine color of Cou Blanc meaning white in front with black hind.

If the kid is covered with something that looks like egg yoke, this tells me the kid was stressed. The yoke is actually a bowel movement while being delivered. It is sterile so don’t have a fit over it. Just wash your hands. Again, bowel movements while in labor for the kid means the kid was stressed. This kid is held upside down for a few minutes to let whatever is in the lungs come out just like any other kid. You can also use an aspirator that is used with a human baby when it has a cold. It does the same thing for a kid goat. This does not mean the kid will have a problem if this happens. It was never an issue with any of our kids that were stressed during birth. I will give each kid 2cc’s (Oral) of Probios when born. This is in a fat tube that you can get at the feed store and costs about $6 here. It’s blue in color and no reason not to give mom a dose of it either but she gets about 10cc’s.  

 Sweety and Sweet Heart 09  

This says it all. It's what it's all about.

If anyone wants to e-mail me with questions about goats kidding you can at: milkmaid@embarqmail.com   For those of you that read "Development of a Dairy Goats Udder" last week, Hawaii had a set of twins 4 days early. She had both kids out in only 6 pushes and I was stunned at his Text Book delivery. The twins are a buck and a doe and she has a great udder. For the most part you won't have to help with delivery of the kids.

Part 2 will be coming in a few days. Suzy Minck 

Miniature Alpine Dairy Goats  www.milkmaidranch.com  

Development of a Dairy Goats Udder

For those of us that want to have our own milk supply, the thought of milking a goat is a wonderful thing. It’s a nice quiet time for both the goat, as she eats her special grain that helps with the milk supply, and for the one who is milking her. My mind likes to wander as my head rests on the doe’s side and the gurgling of her stomach makes me giggle. But, do we really know what to look for when the doe’s udder is developing as her body is getting ready to deliver her first kid? Will she have a good over all attachment, will she have good teats for hand milking and will they be defined; does the udder look like two large teats? Or will her udder just be some small poochy thing that will fit in one hand. Well, I hope this helps you to learn what to look for. 

 La Brie udder

This is La Brie, a 1st generation Mini-Alpine. The apperance of her udder is what I want in my herd. Don't let this udder fool you though. Her teats are great for hand milking. This photo was taken a day after she arrived so her body is gaunt from the trip. 

Of course, a doe can’t give milk unless she is pregnant and has a kid first. That is the reason she develops the udder in the first place, to feed her kid. There are those that are called precocious doe’s. This doe will start to produce milk without being bred. I’ve never had one but I’ve heard about them. This is not the doe I am talking about. 

Before a doe is bred her teats will be like two little fingers attached to her belly right before her hind legs. Before she is bred, check and see if there are only two of them. Sometimes there is a third that is close to the larger one, this is called a spur. They can be removed at birth very easily. There is also a double teat that has two openings. You don’t what that either. I hope you check this before buying any doe. This is a breeding fault and you don’t want to breed this trait into her offspring. It is hard to milk this teat also.

The best way to tell how an udder will develop is to look at your doe’s mom and her sire’s mom. If you don’t own them, the breeder of your doe most likely has photos or will let you see their udders. This is best when they are “in milk”, meaning they are producing milk.  You’ll want to look at both the front and hind attachments. From the back, you want to be able to see how far down the leg the udder is attached, the further down, the better. Some doe’s don’t have any attachment at all. This one, stay away from if you are new to breeding dairy goats. I have had one in my herd but with good reason as I’ll explain when we get to her photo. The front of her udder you want to be a few inches behind her belly, where the umbilical was attached. It’s common for doe’s that are first fresheners to have a sort of cup at the front of their udders. This usually goes away with each delivery but I have seen a few doe’s that never loose it. It has nothing to do with the amount of milk this doe will produce. There was one doe in my herd that was 9 years old and still had this cup and produced just over a gallon per day. This is a wonderful amount for a goat to produce.

 No udder 

This is Hawaii & she has NO udder. This was taken in November of 2012.  You can see one teat on the right. This will be her first time to kid.

 Hawaiis deveoping udder 

Here is Hawaii getting closer to her due date of Feb. 10, 2013. There is a big difference but with her winter coat you can't see the real attachment. When I felt it she has a very nice attachment and will most likely be in the milkstand when her kid is weaned. She is from my best bloodlines also. I'm hoping for a buckling from her to keep for breeding. Notice her wide stance, this was a natural photo while she was eating, I did not set her hind hooves apart for this photo. This tells me she will have a nice udder, enough to fill this space in. Her mom, Honolulu, had this stance as well and filled it with her udder.

You’ve waited 5 months for your doe to have her kids. If she is a first time freshener her udder will start about 5 weeks ahead of her due date. I’ve had some start at 8 weeks out so it’s not written in stone. When your doe is 4 weeks from her due date, it’s a good idea to start to feel her udder, or lack of it. This will help when she has to go in the milk stand and you will have your hands on her udder every day. PLEASE, remember that doe’s do not like cold hands and I can’t say I blame them.

 Arubas attachment

This is an udder just after it was milked. The doe is Aruba, my favorite and the granddam to Hawaii above. This is with her winter coat but where the hair swirls on either side is where her attachment is. A GREAT hind attachment.

 Aruba hind udder 12 

Here is Aruba with her udder and hind legs shaved. You can really see the attachment where the skin folds on either side. This doe has passsed this on to her kids and grandkids as well.

Aruba side udder 12 

Here we see the udder from the front/side. The only thing I wish Aruba had is longer teats. Selective breeding has put this into her offspring.

 No attachment 

Go up and look at the first photo of La Brie, well, this is her lack of attachment on her hind end. Well, there just isn't one. I bought her for the front attachment and the size of her teats for hand milking. Sometimes this gamble pays off as every one of her doe kids and granddaughters has nice hind attachments. She is also a doe that gives a gallon per day. I took a chance with her and it was a good thing. She is now at a farm where her new owner needs the amount she gives to make cheese.

 Nikkie and Honey 

These 2 doe's are first fresheners. I like their udders and next year I expect to see udders with more depth in them. I don't like to see the teats below the hock(elbow) as the doe can step on it when she stands up and it will cause problems. This photo was taken before they had their kids.

As the weeks get closer to delivery of the kid, you should see the udder get a little bigger but not much. In the winter months it is harder to see with all that winter hair on the hind legs. See if that little pouch is attached to the hind legs and how far down the leg it goes. I will put different photos on here so you can see the difference, shaved and hairy.

 Montegos 5th udder 

This hairy beast is Montego Bay and her attachment is the best and she is in my milkstand every year. Most doe's have hair on their udders. When kids are nursing I usually don't shave them till I'm ready to milk for the house. NOTE: shave a full udder, it's much easier when it is full.

 Boots hind shot 

This is BootsRMade4Walkin and she is one that is not hairy in the winter. This photo is of her 2nd freshening this past Dec. 2012, the day before she had twin girls.

If you have a first freshener (a doe that is going to have kids for the first time) please remember that with every freshening her udder will get a little bigger. By the time she has had kids for 5 years, it will be what it will be, again this is not written in stone. Enjoy the pictures.

Suzy Minck owns Milk Maid
Ranch in Texas. www.milkmaidranch.com