First Milk Attempt - Ugh

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by BeeLady, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. BeeLady

    BeeLady New Member

    My does kidded a month ago and I've been on vacation the last two weeks so finally separated kids from does last night for first time so I could milk this morning.

    Got all my stuff together and took it all out (bucket, teat dip container, teat dip, cloths for cleaning, etc) ready to go. First thing, I sat on my milking stool, a leg on the stool broke and I went sprawling on my back. It went downhill from there.

    First doe, Spice, almost finished her grain by time I recovered from my spill. I forgot to use the strip cup and after a few squirts of milk, she was done. I ended up holding one leg and milking with one hand. And I'm new at milking so my technique was not very efficient. Somehow she got her foot in the bucket a few times so I knew this was a practice run. After fighting with her for about 5 minutes, I let her off the stand.

    With Ginger, I remembered the strip cup at the beginning and the teat dip at the end. In between those two things, she did stand still while I milked and was easier to milk due to bigger teats.

    I ended up with about 1/4 cup of milk total. I'm willing to write this off as a practice session (what choice do I have????) but don't know if I can expect much better in the future. I think part of the distraction was the does could hear their kids screaming in the background, my nervousness and disorganization and the newness of having their kids away and the milking in general. Also, I think I'll need some kind of hobble for Spice until she realizes she stays still until I tell her she can go. Any homemade suggestions for these small goats? I know Hoeggers sells one but it may be too large for the minis.

    Should I hope for better in the future or just keep my expectations low until their second freshening?
  2. K-Ro

    K-Ro New Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    The first few times are always bad or shall I can be bad, they were bad for me, lol. I would milk and milk and nothing would come out, had no idea what I was doing, hehe

    Don't give up, it does get better and much easier. I am sure that someone will have an idea on a hobble for your girl, I had one who would kick the bucket or put her foot in it everytime, so I ended up holding that leg while milking, then I figured that my 12 yr old could sit behind her and hold her leg just as well. lol

    Now my 12yr old is trying to learn to milk and he doesn't get very much out, then informed me that one doe only had air in her udder as nothing came out, :ROFL: Thankfully, these does have some serious patience. I think out of 3 does he only got a quart from all three so I had to go back and finish them.

  3. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Though I've been milking my girls for 7 years...and had practice while still at home with my mom's girls....milking a goat that hasn't been milked before takes time as well as patience and practice. She will learn to stand nicely til you finish, and she will learn that no matter what she does you will continue to "bother" her. Soft spoken soothing words from you will keep her at ease, It took me a month to get Angel where she is now, I stayed quiet while she ate and while I got those first streams going, but when she would dance around and try to kick, I would hold her hoof and place it firmly on the stand all the while talking to "my pretty girl" and continue to milk with one hand. She is now the first on the stand in the mornings...and tries to be first in the evening, but she has learned that Boots is is so enjoyable to me to see my girls lined up in order at the door to the milk area.

    Oh and if you have milked a cow and never a goat before, the process is soooo different! With a cow you bump and pull...with a goat you bump, fill teat, clamp of the top and squeeze, little nigi teats are a trial but they do still work, just takes practice.
  4. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    Something I use for milking those beginner does is just a 2-cup container, (right now it is a plastic cup that was used for coffee). No pail, means no way they can step in the milk. I just learned to be really quick when I sense they are going to move their hoof or leg, move the cup away faster. :) Claribelle's first couple days were not so great, but not terrible. I've been milking her since Monday night and she is pretty much a pro on the stand now. Runs right out the gate and jumps in the stand. Only once or twice during milking will she try to lift her hoof and move me. I do talk to her very consolingly the whole time. It does help a lot.

    I have read on here of people putting rocks in the grain, to slow down their eating. I put some alfalfa pellets in Claribelle's grain, that slows her down since she doesn't like eating them.

    Another thing I have noticed with some does, is where they would prefer to be milked. Claribelle likes being milked from behind. I took Rosie out last night to try milking her (she is a Pygmy) and she doesn't like being milked from behind, prefers the side. (I know, I'm a pushover.) Whatever makes them easier to milk, I am willing to try. :)
  5. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    Don't give up. The first few times are harder - but once you all get used to wach other it will be cake walk!
  6. grandmajo

    grandmajo Member

    Oct 14, 2008
    Pioneer, Ohio
    My kinder doe was a FF here this year. I started training her to the milkstand when she was 2 months prego, touching her udder and trying to get her used to me handling her. Even though I did all of that, she was still a bit jumpy through the first few milkings. When she would start to fidget around, I would stop milking, but not remove my hands from her teats, and keep talking to her, telling her easy, that's a good girl, etc. When she quieted, I would start milking again. After a week or so, things started to go much more smoothly, and she learned that I wasn't going to go away until I was done. You just have to be able to outlast them, lol!

    Hang in there, it will get better, I promise! Before too long, you'll be milking like an old pro. And you'll also learn the "deflecto-el-hoofo" move while your milking too.
  7. Cinder

    Cinder New Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    It sounds like a pretty normal first milk session to me. I have used the idea of milking with one hand into a glass or the strip cup itself being held by my other hand. I can easily pull the glass or strip cup out of the way if she starts kicking so I don't lose any milk. If I get a cup or more I pour that into the pail and continue milking so that if she does kick and I lose milk, I haven't lost all of it.

    I've used horse lead ropes to tie down my goats back legs also (they are soft so they don't cut into their ankles). I just tie it around the ankle of the goat and tie it in a quick release knot around the leg of my milk stand. The first couple of times I did that I had one of my kids stand on the other side of the goat just in case she fought I didn't worry about her falling off the stand. None of my goats that I've tied had fought as long as the foot was tied 'tightly' down on the floor of the stand. If they can move their foot at all they tend to fight and keep trying.

    Good luck... don't give up!
  8. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    oooh, thats a good idea! :greengrin:
  9. Thanatos

    Thanatos New Member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Lake Ariel, Pa
    I cheat...... I use a machine :greengrin: . We tried the hand milking thing and while I could get it done it was no fun for any of us :( so we got a machine.
  10. BeeLady

    BeeLady New Member

    I very much appreciate all the encouragement. We completed Day 3 today. I haven't fallen off my milk stool in two days so we are making progress!

    Spice is calming down some - no feet in the bucket since day one. I don't think there is anyway I can completely restrain one of her hind legs at this point and, as has been alluded to, a half-restrained animal would be the worst possible situation. Maybe this weekend I'll have some help.

    I think as I become calmer so will my goats and we will make more progress. I did find myself pricing some milk machines today! But, I am determined to become proficient at hand milking!! This is something people have been doing for 10,000 years or more, so I'm hoping there's a chance I can do it too!

    Thanks again for the encouragement and will keep you posted.
  11. rebelshope

    rebelshope New Member

    Sep 20, 2008
    :slapfloor: <-- laughing with you not at you. Sounds a lot like my first few time. Including falling off the stool! Only I also had milk flying every where, on me, on the goat, on the floor etc.