.............................................More about that in just a minute ... but first ... a kidding update ..... My last doe due to kid in this first round of kidding delivered her triplet doelings on Friday morning. That brings our total kids so far to 66 with 36 doelings and 30 bucklings
Ci-Ce and her 3 girls just after delivery
Nap time today
Getting a little dinner!
We have a kidding break until the 31st! Yea!
Back to the First Freshener Milking Rodeo ..........
These 2 year old first fresheners are sure stronger and bigger than the yearling first fresheners! Now these 2 year old girls are all used to coming into the milking parlor to eat their grain ... they've been doing that for the past year. But, now that they've delivered their babies and have returned to their goat groups ... it's time to get to work and produce that wonderful delicious goat milk.
Some of them are more than a little ticklish when it comes to having the milker put on their milking parts! They jump, stomp, kick, dance sideways, squat ... pretty much any maneuver imaginable to keep me from getting the milker on them. I call it the First Freshener Milking Rodeo.
Now that their kids are in the kid nursery or gone on to their new homes, it's my responsibility to empty their full udders. There's a lot of milk in there and to keep them healthy, I have to milk them out completely. I can't just say ... "Well, she's having a bad day so we'll do this another time." She HAS to be milked twice a day because they are heavy producers.
The solutions I've come up with are pipe bars on each side of the doe to keep her from dancing sideways and Velcro hobbles just above the hock joint to keep her from stomping and kicking. This keeps her from hurting me, hurting herself, and destroying milking equipment!
The hobbles are gentle on her legs and strong enough to hold her still. I had some Velcro strips that are used as leg bands for cows. I pulled out a couple of these ... put each through a piece of rope .... then snugly wrapped the straps around each of her legs just above the hock. If you press the tendon just above the hock, it pretty much immobilizes the leg.
Tiffany was the first 2 year old first freshener to be moved back out to the big goat groups. She is a BIG girl ... as big as my older mature does ... and she's really strong! She not only stomped, but she kicked straight backward. She almost got me!
After coming to the conclusion that she was not going to stand still for milking, I applied the hobbles to her. It only took me about 10 minutes to get them on. I was exhausted by the time I got the hobbles on her. The photo below shows her with the pipe bars holding her straight, the hobbles to keep her from kicking, and the milkers are on!
Tiffany's first milking
The great thing is how fast they figure out that it feels good to have their udder emptied! It only took using the hobbles twice before Tiffany was standing perfectly still without them for milking. The photo below is on the evening of the second day of milking her. She has done great ever since.
Tiffany milking like a pro
When it was time to milk Lacey (also a 2 year old first freshener) ... she stood quietly without any need for hobbles. She does have a habit of squatting when I put the milkers on her. I have to almost crawl under her to reach far enough to get them on her. But at least she doesn't jump and kick!
Lexie was as jumpy as Tiffany for her first milking, but she's not quite as big as Tiffany. It took a few minutes to get the hobbles and milkers on her.
She still managed to jump enough to get the milkers knocked off!
I ended up having to milk one side at a time.
After that first day of bucking around, she milks perfectly now too.
Trina only needed the pipe bars on each side of her to help her settle down. I did have to hold the milker on her and milk one side at a time. I'm still having to do this ... even 3 days into milking her. She is getting better, but still stomps her back feet when I put the milkers on her. I don't want them to learn that they can kick the milkers off when they stomp. So until she quits stomping, I'll hold the milkers on. If she doesn't quit in a day or two, I'll have to put the hobbles on her to keep her feet still.
Vanessa also kicked at the milkers, so I held her leg just above the hock. I squeeze the tendon keeping them from lifting their leg to kick or stomp. She's milking fine now without having to restrain her leg.
Leg squeeze while milking Vanessa
I have such sore muscles from wrestling with the first fresheners just to get them milked. Some night's I've felt completely beat up. I'm glad it doesn't take long for them to get the hang of milking in the parlor! Now that the 2 year old first fresheners are milking pretty good, I have the yearling first fresheners to look forward to in the next several weeks!
I also posted stories about Milking a Difficult Doe last year if you'd like to read about some of my mature doe milking challenges.
If you have interesting stories of milking experiences ... I'd love to hear about them in your comments!