When the most recent kids were born at Annie’s Goat Hill, I decided to let them camp out in the milk stand area. Unlike our old barn, which had a separate milk/feed room with a sliding door, I now milk in a penned section of the barn. A small panel gate separates the milk/feed area from the rest of the barn.
The paneled gate works. The kids run in and out of the gate smoothly. They eat their hay and grain without battling the larger goats outside, but then, much to my dislike, so does Caleb, the guard dog. He devoured the grain intended for my milkers, all of it. And thank you very much, he got pretty sick from it.
So, I ended up tying a piece of fencing to the gate, leaving enough room for the kids to squeeze through, but not enough room for Caleb. The power of a farmer – baling twine, and extra pieces of fencing. We learn to not throw anything out that can later be used to patch something up.
Newborn goat kids eventually discover that the swish-swish sound coming from the milk stand means there is warm milk. As they become mobile (which doesn’t take long), they end up jumping on the stand, nudging the udder as I milk. It can be rather disastrous. So, I eventually rigged up a goat panel in the corner of the milk/feed area to put the kinds in (with hay and grain) until milking is done. Wa-la, problem resolved.
New kittens have been born and momma cat is begging for warm milk. She bats at me as I walk past the milk stand. Her big green eyes seemingly stare into my soul, “You will give me milk!” The batting from momma cat recently started including claws. Ouch! So, now, because I cannot contain a cat inside of a goat panel, I am forced into a new work-around to keep myself from injury-by-cat. The routine involves stopping and staring her down before I proceed to the milk stand. With deliberation, I say the words, “You will not swipe me with those needles. You will be patient!” So far, so good. She doesn’t look happy. But she is registering my words, and I am no longer suffering from cat scratches. She still gets her portion of warm milk.
Another part of the daily routine is to carry kittens to their feed dish. Apparently, they want to eat kibble with the big-wigs, but I want to make sure they eat well, at the “kitten feeding station.” You should see my arms lined with kittens as “we” walk to the aluminum feed pan. Which, by the way, is now being demolished after I leave the area, by none-other than young goats. I can just see them now, behind the closed barn door, passing the pan from kid to kid, “This is a fun and noisy object!”
Well, I am out of here for now. Heading back down to the barn because…I forgot to untie and release the kids from their paneled corner! All of this love just to make a bar of soap. It is worth every moment. Trust me.
Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!