Making Milking Easier with Inexperienced Goats
Milking goats is a job that can have several different outcomes. It could go smooth as silk with an experienced, seasoned goat or it can be a frustrating process with a young, unruly goat. In order to transform difficult milkers into old pros, a bit of training may be necessary. Although training may take a little bit of time and energy, the same can be said for milking an uncooperative goat. We might as well put the effort in immediately in order to get on the right path, and here are some ideas to help make the process easier.
The first part of any successful goat training session is actually going to start with your own behavior. There is no denying that it can be frustrating to milk a troublesome goat. There are going to be times when you are feeling anything but serene but the key is not to show it. Knowing ahead of time that you may have some difficulties could set you on edge, so try to take a moment to relax before you even get started. Train yourself to remain calm and speak soothingly even when your goat is making a fuss. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your goat will be and eventually things will get easier for the both of you.
Since some goats tend to squat when milked, be prepared for this by having a bucket suited for the job of milking a squatter. These buckets are simply shorter and better enable you to reach the udder. With experience, some goats stop squatting and when that happens, you can return to using your regular, preferred style of bucket. Speaking of buckets, start out milking an inexperienced goat with an empty bucket. Since they are more likely to fidget, having little to no milk in the bucket will prevent a large loss should the bucket get knocked over or having a hoof inadvertently placed inside. Also useful is adding a partial lid to help deflect hooves and other debris.
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In order to make milking a welcome experience, you have to appeal to goats and make it worth pleasant for them. Food is a good way to interest a goat as well as a way to keep them occupied during the milking process. The key is to find what appeals most to each goat in order to guarantee cooperation and make milking a success. Over time as goats become experienced and tolerant of milking, you can gradually move from their favorite food to hay or their normal feeding, but in the beginning you might want to give them something extra appealing to make things easier. To further enhance training and acclimate goats to a stanchion or milking, they can also be fed there so settling into position will become second nature.
Remember that slow and steady wins the race. Even if you are trying to get milking done in a hurry, rushing is actually the enemy when working with a nervous goat. Take your time in order to minimize stress and make milking a pleasant experience rather than a tense one. When the going gets tough as it sometimes will, hang in there and don't give up. Sometimes training and acclimating to milking takes a little bit of time, but once you get there and delicious goat's milk is in the fridge, it will all be well worth it.
Have you had difficult goats to milk? What did you do to get them over those issues? Share your story in the comments!