This may seem strange–and it may, indeed, even be strange–but this is what is working for me. Today was my milking day. I milked Beulah Petunia this morning and this evening. After the evening milking, I took her to the goat yard. “Took her” is a bit strong since she takes herself. I open the gate from Beulah Petunia-land and she heads for the goat yard gate like a heat-seeking missile.
Glory Bee is always there waiting for her. Mooing.
I let BP into the goat yard and Glory Bee falls upon her udder like a starving child who has been wandering in the desert rather than a calf who has been inhaling hay and feed with the goats and donkeys all day. BP will spend the night in the goat yard with her baby, and a good part of the day tomorrow. This is Glory Bee’s milking time. In the evening tomorrow, I’ll take BP out, promising her food and a lottery ticket, and she’ll spend the night in BP-land, away from baby, filling up her udder so I can have my milking day.
We do this routine over and over, trading off milking days. They seem to have adjusted to the routine, and tolerate their separation with moos and bellows that only increase close to the evening of their every-other-day reunion. They know when the reunion is drawing nigh and they are eager for it. They have set their internal clocks to the schedule.
For Glory Bee, it keeps her with her mommy at least some of the time, and keeps her in mommy milk. It keeps me in milk, too, but not too much milk! I have a day off between milking days when I catch up and make cheese. I don’t have to deal with milk overload, and I enjoy seeing mommy and baby together. I get all the milk I want on my day, and Glory Bee gets all the milk she wants on her day.
It’s a weird little system, but it’s the best one I’ve come up with yet. It’s working. And I have milk and cream and butter and cheese!