Enjoy Cara’s goat doodles of Edgwick Farm!
As I write this I can hear the distant cry of this year’s babies. They are not in pain…they are being weaned. Two weeks ago I took them off their noon bottle and yesterday was the first day that they did not receive their 7am bottle, leaving them with only one feeding a day – in the evening at 5pm. It will take them a few days to adjust…and it is just as hard for me as it is for them. They look at me with their sweet innocent eyes and cry for the comfort of their bottle. I am not being cruel. They are strong, healthy babies who eat plenty of solid foods – hay, grain, and treats such as evergreen trees and dried leaves. It is time.
When babies are first born they need to be fed bottles 3 times a day. The first 5 days we give them their own mother’s colostrum (the first milk that comes from a lactating doe which has antibodies to protect the newborn against disease.) After that we give them goat’s milk. At about 2 weeks old we add hay and grain to the kid pen. They do not eat it right away, but they play with it, chew it, get used to having it around.
Once their digestive systems are ready for solid foods, they begin to swallow the grain. The first sign that they are digesting the grain is while they are at rest they begin to chew their cud (goats swallow food, let it ferment in their rumens, then bring it back up to chew again). Once I saw that they were doing this, it was time to think about weaning.
My issue this year was that I noticed they weren’t eating the hay or really drinking any water. When a baby is around older goats, they learn from example. Since we keep the kids separated at this point, it is harder for them to learn how to behave like a goat. When something isn’t working, you try something new. I decided to move the hay rack. Where I placed the rack the older goats were able to get their heads over the wall and eat the hay from it. The babies saw this and immediately began eating the hay. This was a huge step. No more noon bottle. This was when they were just shy of two months old.
The next step was to try to get them to drink the water. I again decided to move the water bucket. I chose a spot where they were used to getting their treats. I tied a colorful string to the bucket to keep it in place. They immediately started to play with the string…and sipping water soon after. At this point the kids have been getting supervised play time in the hoop house with the big ladies every morning. We would run back and forth and play outside on the big rocks. They loved this! It was always during the time when the goats were being milked and spending time in the holding pen so there were less ladies in the hoop house.
We kept them on 2 bottles a day for 2 and a half weeks. Before the decision was made to wean them off their 7am bottle, they needed to spend more time in the hoop house getting comfortable with their surroundings…and hopefully learn out to drink water from the big trough and hay from the big hay racks. Once left alone, the babies spent the entire morning with the big ladies and eventually relaxed. They watched the goats drink water and eat hay…and they followed suit. Seeing them peacefully napping in the sun in the hoop house surrounded by big goats was a huge sigh of relief. It was time to wean them off their morning bottles.
So now we are down to one. Just one bottle a day. And in just a couple weeks – weaned completely off their bottles. In no time they will be living full time in the hoop house as part of the larger herd completely forgetting their days spent crying for bottles. Goats grow up so fast. Just a little over 2 months ago I was watching them take their first steps. Weaning is bittersweet. It gets exhausting and repetitious feeding the babies 3 times a day…but once it’s over, you miss that special time you had bonding with them. I had a wonderful team of volunteers that helped me get through it all with big smiles on their faces…and I know that they miss feeding times as much as the babies do.
Every year will be different. Every goat will be different. The most important part of raising baby goats is to watch for every little detail. Are they eating? Are they drinking? Even – are they pooping and peeing? How do they interact with others? Are they acting normal? If not, what could be wrong? There are so many factors that can affect a baby goat’s life. Observation is everything.
So I write this to look back on in the future, to remind me that although it will be tough…and the babies will look at me with their sweet, innocent eyes as if I have bestowed upon them the ultimate betrayal, weaning is just a small part of a goat’s life. I will get to watch each of them grow, go out to pasture for the first time, have their first babies, get milked for the first time, and live a long happy life here at the farm. And in just 10 short months, I will be doing it all over again with a new set of babies!
We finally have another weekend of indoor winter farmer’s markets. We have missed seeing all of our regular customers! Cornwall’s is Saturday 11 am to 3 pm indoor at St. John’s Church, 66 Clinton Street. Beacon’s is Sunday 11 am to 3 pm indoors at Scenic Hudson’s River House, 8 Red Flynn Road. Talitha will be at both markets while Dan, Aidan and Cara handle the weekend farm tours and make cheese at the farm.
To both markets, we will be bringing fresh Canterbury goat cheese, Marinated Canterbury, Rosemary Fig Canterbury, Moodna feta and Sackett Ridge hard cheese. (Sadly, the 2013 Funny Child has sold out and the 2014 batches won’t be ready until the summer markets start.)
As a treat and something to spice up your early spring meals, we have made horseradish Canterbury. We have mixed horseradish in with our fresh soft goat cheese, making a spread that has a tasty kick! Pick up a 4 ounce log of this goody for $7, quantities are limited but if you like it, we will make more for the April 13th Beacon and the April 19th Cornwall markets. Let us know!
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any special orders or if you would like your raw milk order filled (this is only for existing customers who have been to the farm for milk pick up and will be trading in milk jars.)
Our upcoming tours this weekend and for all of the coming week are fully booked. Check our Facebook page or e-mail us for availability. Families coming on these tours will get to meet all the growing babies born in January and February as well as the new chicks and any babies that are born this month! Cara, our herd manager gives the guided tours and Big Dan will be doing the cheese tastings and milk tastings. Don’t miss out – the tours end April 30th. Book yours today!
Before you know it, Easter will be here on the 20th. We are thinking of making chocolate chevre truffles for pick up at the farm on the 16th -19th and available at the Cornwall and Ringwood markets on the 19th. Let us know if you would be interested.
It is that time of the month when the forces converge and we have three farmer’s markets and four tours on one weekend. Hello third weekend in March!
On Saturday, Talitha’s son, Gabe will be at the indoor winter farmer’s Market in Cornwall. It is held in St. John’s Church at 66 Clinton St, Cornwall, NY 12518 from 11 am to 3 pm. The market boast 8 to 10 vendors with all sorts of goodies: jam, pies, fresh greens, soap, etc. and of course, our goat cheese. The church staff sells soup, scones and coffee that can be consumed at tables at the market.
Also on Saturday, Talitha will be outdoors from 10 am to noon at the Ringwood Farmer’s Market in the Ringwood, NJ Park n Ride next to the Ringwood Library. This is a once a month treat until late May so come get your cheese! E-mail special orders to email@example.com.
On Sunday, Talitha’s son Daniel will be at the indoor Beacon Winter Farmer’s Market in the Scenic Hudson River House from 11 am to 3 pm.
To all three markets, we will be bringing fresh Canterbury goat cheese, Marinated Canterbury, Rosemary Fig Canterbury, Moodna feta, Sackett Ridge hard cheese and the last very tiny bit of Funny Child, our ale washed goat tomme. This is it on the Funny Child and it won’t return until June so don’t miss out on this fantastic artisan cheese!
However, as a special, and to give you all something different to do with all this blasted winter weather (i.e. cook and try out some new recipes), we are selling 4 ounces of crumbled feta for $4. Check out a recipe list here:
Our upcoming weekend tours are just about fully booked. Check our Facebook page or e-mail us for availability. Families coming on these tours will get to meet all the growing babies born in January and February! Cara, our herd manager gives the guided tours and Big Dan will be doing the cheese tastings and milk tastings. Don’t miss out – the tours end April 30th. Book yours today!
Have you ever thought about keeping bees? We are offering a bee boot camp this April with hands on experience with the bees. Check it out at:
On a last note, Talitha’s daughter Emma, who lives now in California turns 20 years. Happy birthday Miss Emma! Edgwick Farm misses you!
Enough of this damn winter…can’t garden, so you may as well COOK!
We are having a special this weekend only: 4 ounces of feta crumbles for $4.
What can you do with feta crumbles? Be prepared to drool…
Here are some ideas:
Feta Couscous salad: http://www.alouettecheese.com/recipes/salads-and-sandwiches/feta-couscous-salad/
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon-Feta: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/roasted-asparagus-lemon-feta-crumble
Easy Pasta Salad with Feta: http://www.thecookingmom.com/recipe-box/salads/easy-pasta-salad-with-feta-cheese/
Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2011/11/recipe-for-spinach-and-feta-casserole.html
Apple Quinoa Salad with feta crumbles: http://pumpsandiron.com/2012/09/24/apple-feta-quinoa-salad-with-cranberries-and-walnuts/
Orzo with scallops, artichokes, feta: http://www.dinner-mom.com/orzo-pasta-with-scallops-artichokes/
Wheat berry sald with feta: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-wheat-berry-salad-with-78138
Farinata topped with roasted fall veggies and crumbled feta: http://www.thefooddocs.com/farinata-topped-with-roasted-fall-vegetables-and-crumbled-feta-cheese/
Bruschetta with Tzatziki, Sundried Tomatoes, Feta: http://www.twobluelemons.com/2013/04/bruschetta-wtih-tzatziki-sundried.html
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter & Feta: http://www.reclaimingprovincial.com/2012/10/17/pumpkin-gnocchi-with-sage-brown-butter-feta/
Are you drooling yet?
We will have our feta crumble special at the farm, for sale at the end of tours, at Cornwall Farmer’s Market, Ringwood Farmer’s Market and Beacon Farmer’s Market.