Gauteng Smallholder December/ January 2018 - Page 17

From page 12 SMART SMALLHOLDERS with the last few kids being born up to November. Once the baby is born, it is left with its mother for around three days to ensure it receives adequate colostrum. On day four, the baby is separated and the mother heads into the milking shed for the first time. For the next nine months the goat is milked twice a day. Belnori’s Saanen goats In 2016, Belnori purchased its on the farm. It also proved first automatic feeding system. invaluable in that the kids This freed up a lot of labour were ready for breeding a whole 2 months sooner than when they had been hand- fed. The system was custom- built for Belnori and involves a series of milking teats fitted into the wall of the kids' paddock. Behind the wall is a tank and pump system that Norman Belcher checks a vat of milk 15 feeds the teats as the animals suckle. The system also regulates the temperature of the milk. The animals are weaned off milk when they reach around 19 – 20kgs and are covered by rams at around 35kgs. Rina and Norman strongly believe that the best quality product will only exist if it comes from the best quality animal. Because of this, the milkers at Belnori receive eragrostis throughout the day as well as 2,5kg of concen- trate per animal. They are cleaned and their paddocks sterilised once a week. The Continued on page 17