We will begin milking our goats, for the first time, when the new kids arrive this spring. With the does expecting in a couple of months, we’ve decided to start introducing them to the milking stand. We want them ready to go as soon as the kids hit the ground. It makes sense to have them comfortable with the concept of the stand, and it’s a good idea for them to have an established pecking order as well. This introduction was my task while Joe was away for the week on business.
I find that goats are can be more food-obsessed than our Jack Russell terriers. Just hearing the grain hitting their bowl sparks their interest. Having established the pecking order by their due dates, I call each one into the milking room. They are latched in the stand while they eat, during which time they also have a chance to get accustomed to physical touching. When they are finished eating, they are led outside and the next doe is called to the stand. Pretty simple, huh? Well, it didn't start off as easy as it sounds.
Once they discovered what was in the bowl on the milking stand, the goats would fight each other (and me) to get in the door. This took a bit of wrestling with the does that were not getting on the stand. Then, when I let them back outside, the other does would run me over to get back on the stand. Plus, I had to get them back to their regular grain bin in the loafing area. What fun!
After five days it seems like they are actually catching on. They come in, one at a time, as their name is called. Then they wait to be let back into the loafing pen to be fed when the rotation is done. One of the benefits of all this is that it seems like the girls are learning their names!