Got Milk….?

"Babies" on the milk stand I built

“Babies” on the milk stand I built

This morning, bright and early, I went out to the garage and put the finishing touches on the very first goat/milking stand I’ve built ! I’m quite excited ! The hardest part was settling on dimensions that I thought would suit my doe,but I built it to accomodate what I thought would be a wider range of goat sizes. I’ll try to get some pics and plans in the blog at some point for those of you who would be attempting to build your own for the first time.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Later , I made an udder cleaning solution from a recipe I found on a reputable site. I put it in a clean spray bottle and placed it and a roll of paper towels in a basket I use to keep some goat neccessities .Organization is important when you’re dealing with an impatient, head strong goat . Keep things where you can reach them with one hand because you’ll always need the other, and wish you had three more, I’ve found!                                                     Yesterday I aquired a 10cc syringe and cut off the tip with a hacksaw . I had read about this on line and was eager to try it. The plan is to pull out the plunger and reinsert it from the other end. The open end will then be inserted around the does’ teats firmly against the udder. Upon drawing the plunger out the suction should bring forth milk. My previous attempts to handmilk my doe have failed . I was told she was a difficult first milker by the previous owner and as she is new to me , I don’t know if I am at fault or if she just won’t let down for me .                    With some corn and hay waiting in the food pan , I brought the leash out to the pasture and retrieved my doe. The boys in the pasture always bawl pitifully when I bring “babies” out of the pasture. I’m sure Debbie  would say that is typical of males , that they fall to pieces when the woman is not around. She must be talking about some other man in her life! Down the gravel driveway we go , the “billies”running alongside us just inside the fence , their wailing so loud that it echos in the woods on the property. I actually feel real bad about this. It makes me wonder what they think about me at this time. I don’t mean to make them feel so badly……                                                 It still feels funny to be ‘leading’ a goat. I do like it though. I feel so much more connected to this whole process when we’re walking. Babies has gotten very affectionate toward me in time and I am very fond of her. She is like the new dog at home and she always responds to my affection or attention . I don’t think I am going too far in saying that she seems to “appreciate” and understand it .                                                                                                  Her approach to the milkstand was not quite what I had in mind. For a moment I thought she was going to insist she assert her independence on the whole affair , coming onto the stand over the side with her rear feet remaining on the garage floor. But, as there was some bitchin’ sweet corn involved , she decided to compromise and come onto the stand as requested. I had no problem with using the stanchion and clearly she had no problem accessing the food pan . My calculations were good and my stand is a success. I like when that happens. I cleaned her udder and teats, trying to massage her in the process. Primus , her buckling , has a different technique: he puts his head below her udders and with some strong upward jerks of his head , he bangs on her udder ! This may be nothing new to the goat experienced , but the first time this newbie saw that , I began to rush in to stop him! As she stood for him totally unaffected , and I recalled reading about what kids will do to stimulate milk ‘let down’ , I relaxed and let nature take it’s course . After the cleaning process I attempted to draw milk with the syringe . I gave it a thorough attempt but had no luck.  I did constantly praise her for being such a good girl, though. She raised her legs a few times at first , ( I swear I heard her say ,” back off ,dumb ass ! Stop touching me like that !” ) but she settled in quickly. I took the opportunity to give her some hugs and talk softly to her and when I thought I had won her over , I began trimming her hooves . She looked back at me and muttered “sneaky bastard ” , but we got the task done easily and I did not get kicked in the face . I also did  not hurt her while trimming  her hooves . I was very reluctant to use those shears. I was totally lacking confidence despite Amandas’ demonstration , but I forged on and felt a great relief and sense of accomplishment when we were done.                                                                                                                                                                                                                Today took me one step closer to realizing the full depth of being a livestock manager.  I am always reminded ,when working with my doe , of our mutually beneficial relationship . I try hard to give them the best goatlife they can have under management, but I think I am the one who comes through with the most benefit . I have always admired and envied a farming lifestyle , but I am only now beginning to learn how deeply satisfying it can be.  As for the dairy shelf in my refrigerator , it is still left wondering……” got milk?” .







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