Saturday, January 10, 2009

Success with the Stand, Not with the Milking

Daisy on the milking stand.

Woke this morning with nothing but the thoughts of sweet goats milk on my mind. My stand was ready and I had my easy goat milker in hand. On to the barn. Once there I feed the girls and persuaded Daisy to follow me into the little barn and onto the stand with a little feed. She happily followed right along and jumped up on the stand like an old pro. I closed the head gate, all was well. This is going to be a great day for me were my thoughts. I added a little more feed to the feeder so she would have plenty to keep her busy while I easily filled my jar with milk. I washed the utter and teats (hehe!!) and gave a good rub to help let down the milk. My easy goat milker that I am sure will work doesn't want to work for me. I try several times but just can't get enough suction. I had another sprayer with me just in case. Spinner said that the one I had may not work quite so well so I found another. Still, not success. OK then, I'll give it a try by hand again, she seems pretty happy on the stand anyway. No dice. The first squirt was fair but then the teats, both of them) went limp. There was just nothing there. So, I have a few questions for my goat milking readers.
1. The kids are still nursing, are they beating me to the milk??
2. Should I wait until the kids are weaned to start taking milk for myself??
3. Am I just too stupid to learn this new skill??
4. Should I just keep trying the same thing that I'm doing now??
Any answers to any of these questions would be much appreciated. I am determined to learn this skill and, like so may I have read about, starting to feel beaten. Any help for this po' ol' farm boy??


Peggy said...

Try to get the milk as early morning as possible. The kids will have enough the rest of the day. Wet her teat and it should get a suction. If you hand milk don't let the milk go back up the milk vein once you start milking or it will cause problems and pain to the goat.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Chris, I have resisted commenting because I don't have goats. But with any cow I have trained. I keep them separated and then let the babies nurse after I have milked. Your mama is just being smart, and saving the milk for her child which means she is a good mother.

At first you might have to milk at the same time as the baby, and you need to milk like the dickens to beat the kid but you will be training your doe to let down for you too. So withhold baby and mama will need milking and may be more apt to let down for you. If her udder isn't full of milk, she can't really let down much, so by leaving the kids with her she has let down all ready, so don't take it personal. ;)

I don't bucket feed my calf either, I let it nurse and it gives the calf some time with it's mom and less chores for me.

I know this is cow stuff, but pretty much all lactating animals respond to the same stimulus, the only thing I see as sticking point is the stand, and if there is room or not for the baby. But, after a few times, your doe should let down for you if her kid is nearby and not nursing.

This also means as the baby gets bigger, it is restrained too, and I feed it hay at this time, so it is a routine and always the same, mama is eating and so is the baby and all usually works out. Hope this helps.

If it was me, personally I would prefer the hand milking not the suction, but ask Liv and see what she says... and feel free to edit this part out if you want:)

Joanna said...

Sounds like Daisy was very cooperative. Watch the kids, how they get milk from Mama. The kid will shove its mouth up in the udder, start sucking, and wagging it tail.

With your hand, sorta grab high, and get a fat teat.

To each his own, but Mike LOVES drinking the raw goats milk. In the house, I strain the milk, just to get any loose hairs out, and put it in the frig. You may want to pasterize yours though. We used the milk as fast as we collected it almost.

At the milkstand, I just use a 2C measuring cup.

How many kids is Daisy nurning right now?

We never weaned SweetPea, she's never be separated from her Mama and Grandma.

Spinner said...

It may be a little early to start stealing milk from your babies. I usually don't start milking until the kids are a couple of months old. Then I separate them overnight from their mother, but only do this if you have a safe place to separate them. You can put them in a nice big pet taxi or put the mom in a separate lot.

If her teats aren't engorged the milker won't work. It will be very hard to catch her before the babies do. They will nurse continually until they get older. Are they eating any grain yet? You probably shouldn't attempt this until they are eating grain well. Since she is a non-dairy goat, she may only have enough milk for the kids.

Christy said...

Are you keeping her separate from the kid at night? If not, there may not be enough milk by the time you get there. I've heard goats sleep at night so they don't usually get too upset about being separated.

The Scavenger said...

Peggy, thank you, Wetting the teat may help too, never thought of it. I hope this milker works better for me, make it much eaiser and cleaner I think.

Throwback, Please never resist commenting here, I love to hear anything that you have to offer. The 2 kids are in the barn too at the time of trying to milk. They lay under the stand and seem happy there. I may have to wait until the kids are weaned too. She is not a dairy goat and my not have a great deal of milk to offer other than for the kids at this time. Still learning, and thanks for any advice. Edit your comment, LOL, NO WAY !! Best laugh I've had all day. hehe!!

Joanna, maybe I need to wag my tail too. lol She is nursing 2 kids, they are 10 days old today. Maybe I need to wait a few more weeks until the kids are weaned. Thanks for the help.

Spinner, I'm with you on my thoughts too. Maybe too early. The teats were to full and fat at the time I tried today. Thanks.

Christy, Daisy and the 2 kids sleep in the barn together now. I may try to seperate them as the kids get older. Thank you.

Well, a lot of good answers from you all. Thanks so much for taking the time to offer advice, I really do appreciate it very much. I feel the kids may need to be weaned first so there will be more milk available to me. Been thinking and doing research all day on the subject. Thanks again to all.


Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Well, I'm sorry you didn't get any milk, but it sounds like she'll be cooperative by the time you're able to milk here again. It's educational watching you learn and reading all your comments! Thanks for sharing!

The Scavenger said...

Gen, thank you for all your kind words. Hope Hunters saftey went well for you and yours.


Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

It can be surprising how much the kids will take, you will notice a big difference in the amount of milk you get from her after they are weaned. Being that she is a meat goat and not a dairy she may not produce a whole lot over what her kids need, but once they are weaned I bet you get a lot more from her.

Have you ever thought about breeding your Boer does next year to a Nubian or other dairy buck? I have a couple of Boer/Nubian cross does and they produce quite a bit more milk than our FB and high percentage Boer does but their 75% Boer wether kids made great market kids. They had higher average daily gains that the FB Boer kids did. I love my Boer/Nubian cross does, they are kind of the best of both worlds (meat and milk goats) and I wish I had more of them. Just a thought for the future. :)

The Scavenger said...

Shiloh, I too think I will get more once the kids a weaned. I hope anyway. hehe!! Breeding to a Nubian would be great I think. I want to get more into dairy goats for sure. Our girls are bred to our pygmy buck Cheif. Maybe a Nubian in the future though, I love those floppy ears.


Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

I tried very hard to leave a comment here yesterday, Chris. I was having problems with comments on every blog that I visited.

Anyhow, I have milked boers, but it can be difficult. Most good boers have a lot of milk for their youngsters, but not so much that you can milk out any extra.

I am not a big fan of throwing in a lot of extra grain, it could cause diarrhea, rumen upset, you name it, but you might want to increase her grain ration. Perhaps a bit more hay, high in alfalfa.

When a teat feels taut and full, and you get a squirt, then the teat goes flat with the next squeeze, the doe is out of milk. Her kids are taking what they need, and none is left for you.

By the way, that is a very nice looking doe!

Good luck!

Gerber Ink said...

Thanks for visiting my blog at Now I can add another thing to my list that Bag Balm may help with!

Good luck with your goat problem! I agree with some of the posters that say wait until the kids are eating grain first. I've raised French Alpines and this always worked with them- then I had plenty of milk for the family. Can't comment on the milker issue- always hand-milked them myself.

Amy said...

The kids are definitely beating you to the milk. This is why the kids are often separated and put on milk replacer, which to me seems a bit counterproductive. If you have plans to butcher any of the kids, it might be a good idea to separate them at birth and put them on replacer. I bottle fed my kids so that they wouldn't nurse and get in the habit. It's a pain in the patoot for sure.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

BTW, after 16 LONG hours, we both passed our tests! Woo-Hoo!

The Scavenger said...

Mary, thank you for leaving a comment. Boers may not be the best choice for milking for a beginer, but you work with what you have. Maybe a Nubian in my future. lol Thanks for the advice, I need all I can get.

Gerber Ink, thank you, I will be stopping back by your blog, I really like it. Thanks for coming over to comment.

Amy, no plans to butcher any of the kids, that's one of the great things about having a hobby vs. a working farm. They will be pets more than anything else. lol Thank you.

Gen, 16 hours? I've had hunting trips that didn't last that long. hehe!!