Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Freshener Milking Rodeo

Some people buy memberships to fancy gyms to get their workout ..... I run a goat dairy for my workout.  Some days I get more of a workout than I planned on.  When it comes time to train the First Fresheners to stand quietly while being milked in the milking parlor ... I get a real workout!

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!

 Milking Lacey

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.

 Milking Lexie

 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.

 Milking Trina

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!



Farmgirl_dk: said...

Wow - just thing of the muscles you'll be sporting come tank top season!! lol
More beautiful babies - yay!
Hope it's starting to warm up a bit for you now...

Anonymous said...

If I lived closer I would love to come over and go on a farm tour. Of course I would have to give lots of luvin to the goats. :)

Spirulina a natural top ten superfood helps with muscle fatigue. I take the tablets purchased at the health food store. Not only do I have more energy and less muscle fatigue but no more leg cramping in the middle of the night. I have also started taking Chlorella.

Feral Female said...

Ah yes the joys of first time milkers. We had a girl that still is very ill behaved in the milking stand, but her first year was like a circus and Mister and I were the clowns. We finally ended up hobbling as you`ve shown while Mister held her legs!

Brenda said...

@ Barbara - You'd be welcome to tour and play with the babies! Thank you for the advice about the spirulina and chlorella. Sounds like they'd be good for me too.

matty said...

I learn so much from you and T! You are both super goat women. I am fascinated by your dairy. Could you share one day how you did it? I so would love to do it, but is seems like such a large task to get up and running. Advice??

Congratulations on the triplets! You ran about like I did 50/50 bucks and does... I am going to talk with my buck about more does next time! LOL

Nancy K. said...

Good Lord! Those triplets look HUGE! It's hard to imagine that they were all inside their poor mama.

I don't have goats but LOVE Nubians. I raise Shetland sheep and make goat milk soap with fresh goat milk that I get from a local goat dairy farmer who makes & sells goat milk cheese. It's interesting to read about training the goats to stand for milking.

Aren't you glad you don't raise dairy COWS???


Brenda said...

@ Matty - Thanks so much! I've posted my getting started and the highlights of my journey to this point with the dairy. They're in the sidebar under the "Follow the Journey" The ones you might like are posts (01)(02)(12)(13)(14)(15) and post (40) shows the parlor and processing rooms in action.

@ Nancy - Training first fresheners is a VERY BIG reason why I don't work with cows!! I have worked with dairy cows and that's one reason i chose to work with goats!

~Tonia said...

Ahh yes the Milking Work out!! Lol at the squatting.. I had one that would hold her leg Way up in the air. She did that for her kids too. So that was just her habit trying ot get her legs out of the way..
If Abby dont cooperate this year I will be investing the stuff to make decent hobbles.. Hoping she does though...

Jenna said...

hehe:) First fresheners would be one GOOD reason that we got a hand is a NIGHTMARE with those naughty girls!

Enjoy your kidding break~

Anonymous said...

Yee-Haw! I have experience with the cows and even our little Jerseys can still beat a guy up! It seems that our first-timers always wait 'till the end so we have a whole row of them. I call it the whack-a-mole game because even with two people, you're constantly running up and down the pit trying to keep milkers on. We have a chain on the guard rail that we use to either hold up a leg or hold up a milker if we have a few that refuse to leave on their milkers and we're not close enough to hold both.

My Coco was a first freshener and the first goat that I'd milked! I hadn't dug the stanchion out of the barn yet so my first time milking her was in the dark, outside while she was tied to the side of the horse trailer. I literally had to milk standing on my head while pinning her to the trailer with my butt and holding a leg with one hand. Talk about a rodeo! By the time The FIL and BIL got done milking the cows to come help me, she had a whopping two ounces left to get into my bucket. Haha. I'm hoping she does much better this year, but I'm thinking I'll be making some hobbles as well.

Amy said...

Putting a first time milker and a first time freshener together is the making for a good youtube That was me last year. Big lesson learned ALWAYS dehorn a goat you plan to milk! OUCH! Bubbles is an incredibly fiesty girl and she knows how to use those horns. Hand milking is even more fun! I spent the first couple months holding one leg in the air squeezing that tendon you speak of and the milking with the other hand. One udder at a time. While dodging her attempts to maime me with her very pointy little horns. Well here is the post about it.

Brenda said...

@ Amy - I loved the post of your description of your first miking experiences! I can picture it very well!

@ MilkMaid - Your description of milking your Coco is almost how I had to milk Myrtle the first year I had her. It is funny now to think back on it, but it was not funny at the time at all!

the Goodwife said...

I rigged up hobbles out of polo wraps for my horse. The regular goat leg hobbles didn't work at all on my girls, I think they(the girls) are too small? Anyway, I tied a slip knot in one end of the polo and then tied the other end to the leg of my milk stand. I just grab a back leg and put the loop round it. That is usually enough to get them to stand still, although you really do get quick about grabbing that pail out of the way. You can tell when they are getting ready to kick. Tulip was took quite a while to break to the pail and even now I have to hobble her for the first few days of freshening. Star is very easy to milk as long as her food lasts......once that last nibble is gobbled up she's done! ;)

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

what brand of milking machines do you have? would it work on Nigerians?

Brenda said...

@ Joanna - I purchased my Milk buckets from Hamby Dairy Supply. I think they do have a smaller inflation for the smaller goats. Here is the page for the buckets I have:

Nezzy said...

Awwww, I just adore the pics of the babies!!! How precious is that???

We had a dairy for years before we went totally beef here on the Pondeorsa. It's seems allot alike only the critters and equipment are smaller.

God bless ya and have a glorious day sweetie!!!!