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Alchemy Acres
Tip of the Month

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Milking the Doe

Last month, we talked about milking under sanitary conditions, and about how to tackle a case of mastitis. It later occurred to me, however, that we never really talked about the specifics of milking the doe. Bear in mind that there is no one correct way to do anything. What I'm going to describe is what works for us at Alchemy Acres. When I go to milk my does, I take with me a small bucket of hot water into which I've squirted some Chlorox (maybe 3-5 cc's). I also take a clean pan into which to milk and a couple storage cans into which to pour the milk that I've extracted from the does. You don't need the expensive stuff I see advertised all the time. I use a Revereware stainless steel handled 1 quart pot. The covered storage cans are made from aluminum and have no seams (so they're more easily cleaned). Each doe is brought into the milk room, secured in the stauncheon, and given her ration of chow. While she's munching along, I wash the udder with the Chlorox water, using a section of paper towel as the rag. This section is discarded, and then the clean udder is dried with another section of paper towel. After use , this section of towel is also discarded. I then milk a couple squirts from each teat into a diaposable 3 oz. paper cup. I examine these strippings for abnormalities - i.e., blood or clots, etc.. Assuming no abnormalities, I proceed to milk the doe into the 1 quart pan. I have to empty the pan a few times into the aluminum storage cans, but this inconvenience is offset by the fact that if the doe steps in the pan or somehow soils the milk, I lose less. After the doe is almost milked out, I massage the udder vigorously. This sometimes stimulates the doe to let down more milk. I then proceed to completely milk her out, stripping the last couple squirts from the teat. Finally, I spray the teat tips with "Fight Bac". This sanitizes the teat and causes the muscles to close off the teat (hence, no bacteria can enter the teat and cause mastitis). The doe is then put back with her herdmates in the barn. At this point, I take the fresh milk to the kitchen and filter it (filters can be purchased from your Co-op). Immediately after filtering the milk, I place it in the refrigerator to chill. The sooner the milk is filtered and chilled, the more wholesome it will be. If you're going to pasturize the milk, you need not chill it before its dumped into the pasturizer. You still should filter it, however. At this point, all thats left is wash all the milk pans, cans, etc. The sooner this is done, the better, as it is easier to clean the utensils. We just wash with normal dishwashing liquid. We always wash our milk dishes in fresh dish water and we use a dish cloth that we use only for milk dishes. In other words, we don't wash the milk dishes in dirty water or use a rag that was just used to clean out a greasy casserole.

Shipping Kids Cross Country

I promised last month that we'd discuss the shipping of kids across country by air. So here goes. Someone has just called you from Timbuktoo. They've fallen in love with little Sweetie, whom they saw advertised on the Internet. They have to have her. In my case I would check with all the airlines to see when and if they ship livestock from Knoxville, TN to Timbuktoo, International. The airlines' rates can vary significantly, as can the schedules. After verifying the schedules and the prices, I check back with the customer to see which flight will more conveniently fit their schedule. The trick is to minimize the cost to the customer, minimize the time the baby will be on the flight, and if possible, not have any layovers. Direct flights are preferable, for no other reason than you decrease the chances that someone loses your baby. Assuming that there is a flight which fits everyone's requirements, you then check with your veterinarian to see what the health requirements are for shipping to Timbuktoo (different states have different requirements). At the very least, you'll have to get a Health certificate signed by your veterinarian that states that Sweetie is free from apparent disease (e.g. lice, abscesses, and other apparent disorders). If the animal is over 6 months (maybe younger, in some instances), you'll most probably have to be tested for TB and Brucellosis or have a certified herd. Now this health certificate is good (at least in TN) for only 10 days, so make certain that you don't test too far from the date of the flight. OK -we have a healthy baby, a customer who's salivating to get said baby, and a direct flight (or a fairly short flight). We then locate a shipping crate. The customer might want us to use one of his (he sends it to us UPS) in order to save money, or we might buy one at the local K-Mart or Walmart. The size of the crate depends on the size of the kid. You want an airline-approved dog carrier that is large enough for the baby to turn around in, but not so large that the baby bounces around like a BB in a Boxcar, as it were. The size and weight will depend on the particular airline. Some flights don't have weight restrictions, while most do. The weights will be that of the carrier, the baby, and all the accoutrements such as hay, etc. Make certain you don't go over the limit for your particular flight. The weather at the time of flight will be of intense interest to you. The airlines will not ship if the temperature is to go below freezing or above 90 degrees anywhere along the route of the flight (points of origin and destination, as well as any of the layovers).

I'm now going to make a list of all the things you must consider.

1) Call airline re routes, times and costs.
2) Contact customer-
----discuss shipment times and costs.
----cost of health certificate-only good for ten days.
----carrier - to be provided by customer or breeder? Cost?
----Payment method - COD?, Prepayed?
3) Contact vet re requirements for health certificate.
4) Visit veterinarian -
----health tests - TB and Brucellosis, if necessary
----fill out certificate
----acquire copies of certificate
5) Purchase and prepare carrier.
6) Schedule flight with chosen airline.

1) Feed (moderately) and water animal.
2) Label animal - temporary collar with shipper/receiver information (phones and addresses).
3) Transport animal to airport - arrive early.
4) Doublecheck waybill for accuracy in all details.
5) Comfort animal.
6) Give quiet thanks for a safe and pleasant journey.
7) Call customer to confirm animal actually left as planned.

I like to have the customer call me and confirm that they received the animal in good shape. Even though the animal is insured, and I'll be payed no matter what, its still my baby and I have an intense interest in its well-being.

This sounds like a complicated process, but really, its just a bit tedius. You must pay attention to detail. After one time, you'll be shipping kids like a pro.

Next month we'll cover a few of the poisonous plants you may encounter if your animals graze.

Write us with your comments and suggestions.

Welcome PageDescription of Dairy HerdWhat's New at the Site?Crafts and Nifty StuffAlchemy's MenagerieTip of the MonthPrevious Tips of the MonthOther Resources of Interest