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Topic: trouble milking  (Read 2829 times)
Wildflower
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« on: October 03, 2014, 06:13:39 PM »

Well all the trouble I had with my Nubian Poppy never really got any better.  She chewed her babies ear cleaning at birth.  She wasn't feeding her two offspring without cringing.  She ended up with mastitis in one teet, which made handling that udder torture for her when she already hated it.  She has now weaned her last girl (Dahlia Van Goat....get it? one ear!) but now she has a lump in the mastitis side and after testing it again because she kicks like a donkey if I try to milk it, the test came out negative. So did the test for worms I did because she is thin, I have slowly doubled her grain and no difference.  I am now only milking one side and have to use a big measuring cup with a handle so I can shoot in the milk, dump it into the bucket and be able to move it out of the way of her stamping feet.  this is not soothing.  She has terrific long teats compared to my Alpine I milk so this is such a shame.  I am wondering if I should just give up.  I don't want to torture her but she just hasn't given up the fight after two months of daily milking.  I tried hobbling her and both feet were crashing up and down like a bucking bronco and going to her knees which chokes her out.  this is the sweetest girl you could imagine, unless you even look at her udder.  She follows me around, lays her head on my lap, licks my legs....but I want a milker.  I clearly won't be breeding her again. What to do?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 08:10:15 PM by Wildflower » Logged

Medical Lake, Spokane Washington area
imalilbirdie
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2014, 07:00:32 AM »

Is that Poppy in the second picture?  Who's the little black one?  Both are just as pretty as they can be.

Well...you do have a dilemma on your hands...it's one of those that I don't care to be in either.

On one hand...you have a Doe that's so sweet and so gentle that she's wormed her way into your heart...stole it right out from under you...there's no hope for your emotional attachment to her...there's a part of you that needs that gentle sweet nature of hers, and that's why you've tolerated this and put up with her antics even with her babies, this long.
On the other hand...you need a milking Doe, you need a Doe you can breed, you need a Doe that will tend her babies as well as allow you to milk her.  It's apparent Poppy isn't going to be that Doe. 

If this were me, I know exactly what I'd do...but this isn't me...ask yourself a few important questions...
can you afford to keep Poppy as a pet? 
do you "want" to keep Poppy as a pet?
do you have room to keep Poppy as a pet?

Those three questions are going to be answered by your emotions and attachment to her...weigh them out just right, because selling her is "final"...to share some of my emotional attachment to a few of our goats...I sold my pygmy's out to make room for the Boer Goats...I dearly, DEARLY loved my pygmy's...they were the light and life of our farm and my heart...I'm still kicking myself for doing that and that was years and years ago.  I will have pygmy's back again..one day...I will.

Point is, don't sell her until you can truly say you can let go of her...you'll kick yourself daily if you don't.  I never ever call a "pet" goat "worthless"...my three are nothing more than pets and I adore them to pieces...it's cheaper for me to feed these three goats, than it is for me to feed my two dogs...so cost of upkeep doesn't even factor in to my reasoning.  They are worth their weight in gold for "my" happiness.

It's a tough decision you have to make, and the said part of it all is, "you" have to make it.  She sure looks like a true sweet heart. 
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~ Birdie ~
Rockytopsis
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2014, 07:37:28 AM »

Have you tried to hobble her before milking.
Had to do that once with a Alpine doe.
She finally got the message and behaved.
Rocky
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A & N Lazy Pond Farm, a small Boer Goat farm in East Tennessee
Wildflower
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2014, 12:24:01 PM »

Well yes, this is pretty much where I am at, does she stay or go.  The real bust of all of this is that between damage to her little doeling and all her crazy that needed medical attention, I spent over a grand. She is a tender girl right at the bottom of the pecking order. Even the little ones boss her around.  I just keep hoping that she will get used to milking, even if it is just one side. I still get almost a half gallon out of that side if she doesn't pollute it with her foot.  Today was worse than usual, she clobbered my arm several times and got her foot in it as well.  Your right Birdie, I have to decide.....and you know I have one milker so having Poppy for a pet is fine.  The other little doe is Dahlia Van Goat who Poppy chewed her ear at birth.  Who is so loud I just put her up for sale.  I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree....little trouble maker.  Thanks for your two cents.  She is dreamy as a pet so I guess that is what she gets to be.


 (yes, I have hobbled her and she still kicks like a donkey, just with two feet)
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Medical Lake, Spokane Washington area
dragonlair
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2014, 03:17:14 PM »

I've had nasty kickers that even fought the hobbles. What I did was lift a hind leg with one hand and hold it up in the air. I milked with the other hand. If the doe fought, I would lift the leg further up until she would fall over if she fought any more. That way it was her taking herself to the ground (or milk stand platform), not me.  I would not give her grain unless she stood still. As soon as she stopped fighting and stood still, she got her leg back and grain in the feeder.

I love my goats but I do not tolerate any fighting on the milk stand. I deal with it in the least forceful manner but will work up to taking her feet out from under her if she kicks me or the milk pail.
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DragonLair Farm and Kennel in Central Maine with Nubians, Lamanchas and Oberhasli. Of course, combinations of 2 or more breeds happens also.
imalilbirdie
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2014, 06:48:50 AM »

the few goats that I've milked, I hobbled if they were really bad...even used a belly band to tie to the fence line so they couldn't lay down on me.  I fought one Doe to milk her out twice a day with her only having a single kid on her and producing milk like a dairy Doe, she had to be milked until that kid got old enough to take all of it.  She was horrible bad, she would even bite me and take chunks out of my shoulder if she could reach me.  I finally put a dog collar on her and tied her up close to the fence so she couldn't reach around and bite me. 

I wasn't and am not a dairy goat breeder.  Milking wasn't something I had to do on a daily basis unless one had a single kid, and then I only milked until the kid was taking all of it.  Which is usually only a couple of weeks.  So a milk stand would have been nice, but not required for what I did.

With our dairy cows...if they kicked (an man let me tell you what, you know you've been kicked when you've been "cow kicked"---that hurts like all hadies!!! hahaha), we would try hobbling them, if they still acted up, we would tie their legs to a post of some sort...our stalls were not solid wood stalls, they were wooden slated stalls, so heavy duty corner posting was in every stall.  Usually it was just our young maiden milkers that would cause issue, once broke to milk, they didn't stir issue any longer. 

Maybe try tying her leg with a rope and just pulled tight enough to reach a corner post..you don't want to have it so tight it takes her hoof off the ground, just tight enough that if she kicks or lifts it up, it can't go no where.

My daddy once told me...when you own livestock animals, and you have vet bills in them, you can't consider the costs of vet bills when selling them...like human kids, they are gonna get sick, they are gonna need medical attention..that's the responsibility of you being a livestock owner...you have to dedicate a certain amount of monies for upkeep (medical expenses--be it wormers or vitamins or vet attention), that money is to keep your livestock animal healthy enough to produce and be sold later down the road. 

Like a well maintained vehicle...if you don't change the oil when required to do so, that vehicle isn't gonna last you long...but we don't add that maintenance monies to the vehicle when we trade it in...hope this makes sense to you.

So, with that said, if you are keeping her because you have a grand of vet bills in her, then you may be keeping her for the wrong reasons...you would soon regret that decision.  Keep her because you love her and want her to stay as a pet..a forever pet, is a long time...when I castrated Prince and Tadpole at yearlings, my husband said to me "they are worthless to any one but you now." and I told him "that's fine, they are "my" babies and that's all that counts."  I've never regretted a day of that...though Taddy has gone to heaven (at 10 yrs old), I still have Prince, who is still my big old lap baby, just as he was the day he was born. 

I have to wonder about her episodes here...she's the lowest one in the herd...pushed and shoved around...I have to wonder here, if she's in the mind set of "these babies are now lowest in the herd and I'm alpha over them"...and when you try to milk her, maybe she feels she's going to be harmed or abused when restrained by the other goats?  I'm just trying to make sense out of why she truly hates this.  I had a young Doe who was very ticklish of her teats and her feet.  I wonder if that might be Poppy's case?
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~ Birdie ~
dragonlair
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2014, 10:26:13 AM »

Oh, yeah, cows sure can kick hard! Nothing like a side kick coming out of no where and landing just above your knee cap.  We used to have this wish bone looking contraption called a Kant Kick. It went over the back of the cow and the ends came to rest just in front of the stifle. You tightened it up snug but not real tight. When a cow went to kick, the metal end kept her leg from bending at the "knee" (stifle) and she couldn't cow kick you! I wish they make them for goats. Roll Eyes

Since she is not a good mother, at least this time around, and you can't milk her......if you keep her as a pet, can you be 100% sure she will never get bred? Along with affording to keep a "pet" doe and having the room, you need to add that to your considerations when you try to decide what to do with her.
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DragonLair Farm and Kennel in Central Maine with Nubians, Lamanchas and Oberhasli. Of course, combinations of 2 or more breeds happens also.
Wildflower
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 02:20:41 PM »

Well here are the facts so far.....I have hobbled her, I have pulled grain (she doesn't care) I have had my children help me hold one or both of her legs, she doesn't stop kicking.  Yes, she is super sensitive to either her own kids or me touching her teats.  No, money spent isn't part of the consideration here......some spend it on clothes or cars etc.....my extra goes to my beloved goats.  I keep thinking she will come around with removing her from the stand and feed when she gets to the point that she wont stop kicking, but alas it doesn't change.  Today she only had one kicking fit and settled right down, I got a half gal out of the one side.  yesterday, she wouldn't stop, nailed me in the arm several times and had to be removed.  I just keep thinking if I give it time she will get used to it.  I  know I am keeping her, she is a sweetie and at this point will only be good as a weed eater for anyone else and I love her guts so she stays.  I think I will try to keep milking until either she or I get frustrated enough to give up.  this is pretty much all I can do.  I keep thinking on a farm that needs production she would be made into shoes or stew.  I guess she is super lucky! I milk Choux the Alpine first and sweet Poppy stands at the gate with her bottom teeth showing (grinning) until it is her turn.  It is honestly like she is shocked each and every day that I would have the audacity to try to milk her.  Well she has the looks not the brains that's for sure.  Thank you everyone for once again helping me through another bump in the road or udder in this case!
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Medical Lake, Spokane Washington area
imalilbirdie
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2014, 07:30:25 AM »

Ya know, we've had cattle that were picky about who milked them.  We may have had one that liked it better when I milked them or my husband milk them.  I guess it was the "touch" or the "way" one or the other of us milked.  Mine being more gentle, and my husbands being more stern.  Maybe that's her issue? 

I do think you're making head way...however, and this may not be so with goats, but with horses it is, maybe you should end on a "good" note instead of giving up with the struggles...Kind of like teaching a child...time out ends when the fit is over..so to speak...reward the dickens out of the good behavior.  Heck I don't know...she's a trip for sure. Smiley Wink
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~ Birdie ~
blessednest
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2014, 08:16:55 AM »

Just to throw this into the mix, Have you tried singing to her? I don't think that's been mentioned but I read it on here at some point and tried it on a couple of mine. It worked wonders with one although I didn't actually sing or all their ears would have been bleeding. I would just talk real quietly to her non stop. It was almost like if she had to pay attention to me to hear her praises she would stand still. Eventually she turned into my best milker and without me having to tell her how wonderful she was the whole time she was on the stand. We saved that for after she was done.  Smiley

The other one.. nothing worked. I would actually put a bucket under her belly to keep her from sitting/laying down on the stand. Mine are Nigerians so a small bucket worked for me but not sure it would for your girl.

I hope you find something that works for you but if not... just enjoy your girl.  Smiley
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imalilbirdie
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2014, 08:00:45 AM »

great idea Juli...I had plum forgotten about that little trick.  Happy to hear it worked for at least one of yours. Smiley
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~ Birdie ~
dragonlair
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 11:10:21 AM »

If one of my milkers tries to lie down or sit on the stand I place a stick from the stand to her belly. If she stands, she is fine. If she tries to lay down or sit, the stick pokes her.

You should never let her win. Do not let her off the stand or stop milking when she acts up. If you stop when she acts up, she has learned that she is boss and can control you.

I've left a nasty milker on the stand for several hours until she stood still for me. I was working around the barn, so I was close by, but she didn't get any food until she stood for me. I would stop what I was doing and try to milk her. If she danced around or kicked, I would not stop, but keep milking as she danced/kicked etc. Once she calmed down a little I would give her a bit of grain and leave her alone. I would try again in a few minutes. If she freaked out, we went through the same routine.

I don't have the time to mess with a nasty milker. I will win, and they do eventually learn that, even if I have to catch the kicking foot and pull it out from under her, sending her to the floor of the milkstand on her side. It took my most nasty milker 5 "drops" before she realized that I was not going to let her win.
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DragonLair Farm and Kennel in Central Maine with Nubians, Lamanchas and Oberhasli. Of course, combinations of 2 or more breeds happens also.
MedsHomestead
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2014, 08:14:25 AM »

I trained 4 novices to milk this year - all at once, I agree with whoever said "sing" to them - I found that I couldn't get upset no matter what they did: kick; step in the bucket; lay down... getting upset would just escalated the problem.  I would talk in a really soft voice and tell them sweet nothings - they do have to concentrate to listen and they seem to calm down.  Also, even when you aren't preparing to milk, I would try putting her on the stand and just feed her, brush her, pet her belly and massage her udder. In my opinion goats can feel violated too if they are treated to briskly with no pampering...good luck I can say if you find the combination that works for her, it will be a most gratifying experience for both of you.
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Wildflower
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2014, 12:25:53 PM »

I love the idea of singing!!! I have to agree with both schools of thought (like child rearing) kill them with sweetness but don't take any crap either!  I am just milking the one side and she randomly stomps and kicks but I have figures how to keep my arm under her belly and don't let go, she usually calms down.  I look her right in the eye and try to calm her.  Hopefully with time she will be better.  I am usually the only milker, but I am leaving for 10 days for work and my daughter will take over.  Hey, maybe she will have better luck!  silly poppy!
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Medical Lake, Spokane Washington area
Wildflower
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2014, 01:05:18 PM »

Well Blessednest.....Poppy heard Stairway to the stars and Sunny side of the street this morning and gave me a very confused eye.  I think there was actually less kicking!  I'm gonna keep trying this and see what happens.  If anything as you said you can't get mad when you are singing sweet songs.  Maybe tomorrow will bring some old John Denver nature songs........its fun anyway!
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Medical Lake, Spokane Washington area
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