Posts Tagged ‘milking a goat’

goat milk www.anniesgoathill.com

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!

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Yep, as many of us just experienced, the winter blast arrived, hasn’t quite left yet, and is leaving winter permanently in it’s tailwinds.

Frozen water buckets.  Slick slopes down to the barn.  Winds.  Static electricity in the clothes and hair.

The new Carhart is a joy.  No cold air penetrates.  The Muck boots that I ordered last season grip the ground and keep the toes and legs warm.

But there is a draw back.  Everything feels stiff, bundled up.

As I placed myself next to the doe on the milk stand, I didn’t bother to turn on the light.  I have a window.  It provides dim light in the early morning.  I was too cold to bother much today at all.  Feeling awkward in my arctic attire.  I began the milking steps.  Step one…wash teats.  Step two, place fingers around fully engorged teat.  Step three, squeeze in the proper manner.  Step four, squirt, squirt…but something went wrong.  No milk in bucket.

Wait a minute…did I say no milk in bucket?

Uh-huh…I was milking down my sleeve.  Nice aim. 

The joys of bundling up.  The joys of winter.  I bet my coat loved its refreshing milk bath.  But, yeah, it did a good job! I didn’t feel a thing.

I have been busy, almost too busy to notice.  I am still here, alive and kicking.  Doing the silly things I normally do. 

You don’t know the half of it.  And, boy would I love to hear your funny stories too. I bet you have some!

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Iris 9-2-07

One of the questions that I receive frequently is, “How do I dry off a dairy doe?”

My best advice is to stop milking her.  If the doe was on grain while she was being milked, either cut the grain out of her diet, or cut the amount down considerably. 

A doe will continue to produce some milk as long as you milk her out.  The method of gradually cutting back on the milking schedule to dry a doe off never works for me.

Best bet:  cold turkey, stop milking. 

I have only had one case of mastitis in my milking herd.  The doe never had mastitis again in subsequent years.  For that particular doe, when I took her out of milk each year, I infused her teats with Tomorrow (a long-acting antibacterial product).  I infused and did not milk again until she freshened the following season.

Always watch for signs of mastitis:  doe is off feed, doe is standing away from the crowd, udder is hard/hot/swollen.  Keep in mind, however, the udder will swell for 3 or 4 days after you stop milking.  It takes a few days for the hormones to kick in and say, “No more milk!”  The body then begins to resorb the milk from the udder.

With a very thin doe, I do continue feeding some grain after I dry her off.  In most cases, however, worming her (if needed), and offering her good quality hay will put the weight back on.   I do not feed grain again until late in pregnancy, the 2nd or 3rd month.  Increase gradually as the due date nears.  A good quality alfalfa mix hay is a sufficient supplement otherwise.

I hope you found this article helpful.  Please let me know if you have additional questions.

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