We've spent a lot of blog time on Foxy and Fred over the past week, but haven't talked much about Star. Understandably, she's had a rough week.
If you don't believe that goats can get depressed, feel free to stop by and see it for yourself. Star spends most of the day by the barn door as if she's waiting to be let in for some time with her little one. She's withdrawn from the herd, stares off into the distance for very long stretches of time, and has very little appetite.
Though she's producing very little milk right now, we continue to milk her three times a day. Hopefully, once her appetite picks up, production will increase.
I've never milked a goat 3 times a day, but if it works, it'll be completely worth it. Though we know her mother (Razz) is great, because Star is a first freshener, we weren't sure how she would be as a milker. It turns out that she's got great milking anatomy (I'll spare you the photos :) and is well-behaved on the milk stand (unlike some other goats around here **throat clearing** Honey!). If we can just get that milk supply up, she'll be a great asset this season.
The key to increasing her production will be getting her over her depression enough to eat better AND convincing her body that supply is not meeting demand. That's a tough one to pull off without a little one trying to nurse every 20 minutes or so. To encourage greater supply, I am continuing the milking motion even once she has been milked dry and milking three rather than the standards two times per day.
After a premature birthing of unhealthy kids, we definitely need to keep a close eye on Star's health over the next weeks. Milking her three times a day gives me plenty of opportunity to monitor her. I take care to brush and dote on her while I have her on the milk stand. For now, she's looking pretty healthy. In a week or so, we'll probably reevaluate. If her milk is not coming in any better, I may choose to dry her up, give her the year off, and try breeding her again in the fall.
A special thank you goes out to Girl 1 who practiced her keyboarding skills by typing most of this post for me. :) Thanks, sweet girl!