I figured out my A post. Well, my husband did. Don’t know what I’d do without him. I was actually looking for something to eat.
Alpine goats are a dairy breed that originated in the French Alps, hence the name. They have upright ears and horns, unless someone has them disbudded. For the record, I don’t disbud my goats (disbudding is burning off the horn buds when they are babies). My Alpines have their horns, and I think they look just beautiful with them. 🙂
I have two Alpines, Molly and Thor. Thor is a wether (a neutered male) and Molly is a doe (obviously) and I am pretty sure she is pregnant so I may have one or two Alpine mixed babies running around the homestead soon. You can see Molly in the picture above. the first is when we first got her; the second is a few weeks ago.
A mature Alpine buck can get up to 160 pounds and 32 inches tall at the withers. A doe can get up to 125 pounds and 30 inches tall, but Molly is still pretty small. She is only a year old and my husband guesses she is around 80 pounds. She still has a while before she is full grown; it typically takes about 2 years for Alpines to be fully mature. Don’t worry though. Molly is old enough to be a mommy.
As long as a full sized dairy goat like Molly is 8 months old and about 80 pounds, they can be bred. Most people prefer to wait until they are about a year old, which was my preference, but my little Nigerian buck had other ideas. Don’t ask me how he was able to reach…
Alpines are seasonal breeders, unlike Nigerians, so they typically go into heat between August and January. I am guessing Molly will be ready to give birth by the end of April to mid-May.
Now, for future reference to those who are new to goats: Don’t do what I did! Keep your bucks (if you choose to have them) separate from your does and know when your does are bred. Everyone gets a surprise kidding now and then, I am sure, but it is best to try to control the process so you are ready for babies. If you aren’t ready for goat kids, you could risk losing them.
Needless to say, I am trying to quickly prepare for a possible baby (or babies). At least we should have nice weather. Maybe. This is Wisconsin, after all.
The bonus (or maybe the best part depending on your needs/wants) of having baby goats is the milk. Alpine milk has about 3.5% butterfat and an average Alpine doe should give about a gallon a day. This varies, of course. With Molly being a first time mommy, I won’t expect that. Some give 2 or 3 gallons.
With all that milk comes the ability to make cheese and butter and ice cream. Or non-food products like soap and lotions. Of course, just drinking plain old goat milk is pretty good, too. If you have trouble digesting cow milk, you can probably drink goat milk.
Okay, thanks to my rambling, this post has gotten a bit long. I will be sure to post updates on Molly. If you have any questions about Alpines (or whatever) feel free to ask in the comments. 🙂