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Gentle Milk Stand Training - seeking advice

1739 Views 25 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Katrina Anon
Hey goat lovers,
What are your best tips and tricks for gentle stand training? How long does it normally take for your does to have solid manners?

Mostly dealing with does who squat / lay down. Nigerian Dwarfs, so there's not a lot of room underneath them to begin with 馃槄

This is the first year milking for all my does, thank goodness I am patient lol
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I鈥檓 following to learn too.
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We just try very hard to make the stanchion a desirable place to be. Before milking ever begins they get on the stand to get chaffhaye, brushings & lots of praise. Return to the pen with a favorite snack - here it's a peanut. Then we start hoof trimmings & briefly check udders while on the stand too. Finally milking comes around. By then all the scariness is out of it and we've spent a lot of time already touching all of their body while on the stand.
Our girls love going to the stand and if more than one gets out at a time they fight for it.
It's a pretty big deal around here ;)
One other thing we do is mix their grain with lots of chaffhaye so they don't run out during milking and we don't feel tempted to overfeed to gain compliance. We have a girl that will stomp near the end of milking to demand her peanut before it's time, so she gets shackled to the stanchion if the kids are milking to keep her foot out of the pail. I just know to watch for it at the end and pull the bucket.
Our Kinders are smaller like yours but the base of the neck holder in the stand is high enough that if they tried to lay down it would be very uncomfortable. Maybe you could add a small strip of wood at the bottom to have that raised up?
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Similar practices here^^ Lots of petting, touching, shaving and brushing before milking.

I don't consider hobble/tying ungentle, when it keeps everyone calm. One of mine, too, will dance a little dance when done eating but sometimes that's faster than whoever might be milking. Tying is easier, safer and cleaner for us. Also, for the layers, I have found something under their bellies (like a bucket, child's bench, log) helps to remind them not to lay or get too lazy. I do this (mostly for sheep) when I trim too but I usually use my leg while kneeling if I can get the position right. It works better in the front. I think they get tired, not naughty. :)
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We just try very hard to make the stanchion a desirable place to be. Before milking ever begins they get on the stand to get chaffhaye, brushings & lots of praise. Return to the pen with a favorite snack - here it's a peanut. Then we start hoof trimmings & briefly check udders while on the stand too. Finally milking comes around. By then all the scariness is out of it and we've spent a lot of time already touching all of their body while on the stand.
Our girls love going to the stand and if more than one gets out at a time they fight for it.
It's a pretty big deal around here ;)
One other thing we do is mix their grain with lots of chaffhaye so they don't run out during milking and we don't feel tempted to overfeed to gain compliance. We have a girl that will stomp near the end of milking to demand her peanut before it's time, so she gets shackled to the stanchion if the kids are milking to keep her foot out of the pail. I just know to watch for it at the end and pull the bucket.
Our Kinders are smaller like yours but the base of the neck holder in the stand is high enough that if they tried to lay down it would be very uncomfortable. Maybe you could add a small strip of wood at the bottom to have that raised up?
Thanks so much for sharing! Our girls will fight to get on the sand too, as soon as they see me walk in the barn they run to the milking stall haha, it's just the actual milking that some get annoyed with. Adding a strip of wood is a good idea I might have to try that.

It's mostly my one doe who will squat right down onto the bucket/my hands 馃う馃徎鈥嶁檧锔
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Thanks so much for sharing! Our girls will fight to get on the sand too, as soon as they see me walk in the barn they run to the milking stall haha, it's just the actual milking that some get annoyed with. Adding a strip of wood is a good idea I might have to try that.

It's mostly my one doe who will squat right down onto the bucket/my hands 馃う馃徎鈥嶁檧锔
Hhhmmm, that's an interesting one. Are your hands cold by chance? Our does will try to get away from cold hands... can you blame them tho?! :LOL: The only other thing I can think of is if you're milking from the back. Lots of folks do this just fine but it seems to take some extra getting used to.
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Hhhmmm, that's an interesting one. Are your hands cold by chance? Our does will try to get away from cold hands... can you blame them tho?! :LOL: The only other thing I can think of is if you're milking from the back. Lots of folks do this just fine but it seems to take some extra getting used to.
My hands are probably cold 馃 (Ontario Canada lol) I'll try warming them up tomorrow morning. Nope, milking from the side. We worked on it a bit tonight, I scratched under her belly to get her to lift her back up and stand tall and then give her a break. Hopefully I can help her understand to stay in that posture. She really is a sweet and cooperative goat otherwise
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Similar practices here^^ Lots of petting, touching, shaving and brushing before milking.

I don't consider hobble/tying ungentle, when it keeps everyone calm. One of mine, too, will dance a little dance when done eating but sometimes that's faster than whoever might be milking. Tying is easier, safer and cleaner for us. Also, for the layers, I have found something under their bellies (like a bucket, child's bench, log) helps to remind them not to lay or get too lazy. I do this (mostly for sheep) when I trim too but I usually use my leg while kneeling if I can get the position right. It works better in the front. I think they get tired, not naughty. :)
This is our stance too. I have taken some girls to the stand, did all the same things, and they still threw a fit come milking time. It's something completely different and hormones are flowing. I do have some does that get up there, I start milking for the first time, they get a little stompy cause...well...why are you doing that human? And then they stop and we're good to go. But I have had some that no amount of preparing them helped. I did tie legs because it was dangerous for them to be kicking and jumping as I had been kicked in the face before and it's not fun. They usually try to kick a few times and stop. Takes usually no more than a week of training that way and they are perfect.

For squatters, I have used the bucket technique. Keeps them from dropping their rear down and they eventually stop. There is a level of squatting that's normal as they squat to feed their babies so they will sometimes do the same on the stand. The other thing I do is as I'm milking (I milk from behind so I have a better hold this way) and they start to squat too much, I keep my hands on the teats and gently lift them back up and relieve pressure continuing to milk when they stand nice again.
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One other thing we do is mix their grain with lots of chaffhaye so they don't run out during milking and we don't feel tempted to overfeed to gain compliance.
Great idea, I have a doe that firmly maintains a pay to play policy.

Maybe you could add a small strip of wood at the bottom to have that raised up?
Can you post a pic of that please?

Also, for the layers, I have found something under their bellies (like a bucket, child's bench, log) helps to remind them not to lay or get too lazy.
I usually do fine with first fresheners that act up, but the goat that lays on my hands is so frustrating to me. I just sold a lovely doe because three months into her second lactation she was very stubbornly refusing access to her udder. I did full disclosure to the buyer who was happy to get a goat in milk for cheap. Last I heard the husband would stand next to the doe and cradle her belly with one arm while the wife milked. They were happy to take on a problem I had given up on, a real win/win.
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For squatters, I have used the bucket technique. Keeps them from dropping their rear down and they eventually stop. There is a level of squatting that's normal as they squat to feed their babies so they will sometimes do the same on the stand. The other thing I do is as I'm milking (I milk from behind so I have a better hold this way) and they start to squat too much, I keep my hands on the teats and gently lift them back up and relieve pressure continuing to milk when they stand nice again.
I've tried the bucket thing, using a small bucket or cinder block under her chest so she can lean on that but she still manages to squat/sit with her back legs. She will literally lay her full weight right on the bucket or my hands. Even when I leave the stand unlatched she would rather sit and keep eating than back out. I used to gently hold one of her back legs up and then she'd stand on the other and I could milk with one hand but that doesn't work anymore either
I've tried the bucket thing, using a small bucket or cinder block under her chest so she can lean on that but she still manages to squat/sit with her back legs. She will literally lay her full weight right on the bucket or my hands. Even when I leave the stand unlatched she would rather sit and keep eating than back out. I used to gently hold one of her back legs up and then she'd stand on the other and I could milk with one hand but that doesn't work anymore either
I have seen some people make a sling (depends on how high your roof is I suppose) with a sheet or towel that holds them at the level of standing cradling their belly and chest area. It's not tight but firm right at where their belly should be when they stand. You might could try that? Seems a lot to construct but might help until she realizes that milking is ok.

Does she have kids on her too by chance? I have a doe, she milks great for me, but those first few weeks of having kids, she will squat on me, just like you described, all her weight on top of my hands and bucket. She's just upset with me as she is a very devoted mom. I usually just stand her back up or do the holding one leg like you said until she calms down and is back into the routine.
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Some of these may serve as more of a reminder than a cure, unfortunately. I find milking from the back better. I think the touch on their belly makes them relax into it sometimes. My bigger doe really leans on me if my shoulder touches while milking from the side. I was also going to suggest a sling as an option. What might be easier, depending on your helper situation, is to have someone at the feedpan. When she gets squatty, pull the feed pan away. When she stands up, the feed dish comes back. Retraining. Do tell us what works for her!
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Some of these may serve as more of a reminder than a cure, unfortunately. I find milking from the back better. I think the touch on their belly makes them relax into it sometimes. My bigger does really leans on me if my shoulder touches while milking from the side. I was also going to suggest a sling as an option. What might be easier, depending on your helper situation, is to have someone at the feedpan. When she gets squatty, pull the feed pan away. When she stands up, the feed dish comes back. Retraining. Do tell us what works for her!
The taking the feed pan away when they get squatty is a good idea! I鈥檓 gonna keep that in mind when I start milking again this next year.
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The taking the feed pan away when they get squatty is a good idea! I鈥檓 gonna keep that in mind when I start milking again this next year.
Me too!
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Update: ok so I ended up going to the barn 3 times this morning in order to get my milking done lmao (between the goats and my 2 month old who comes with me it was a proooocess)

BUT the third time was a little better!! I just put the bucket of feed on the stand for her (because it's kinda hard to get it on/off the hook on the wall) and I took things really slow, like one squirt of milk at a time. Between taking it slow and moving the feed when she sat down things went much better. We'll see how tonight goes 馃
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That鈥檚 awesome! So glad it鈥檚 going a little better for you.
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A little 2.5 gallon bucket might fit under a nigi belly. A few years ago my ff standard nubian was a TERROR. We used tow straps to hold her up and had hobble her. She finally decided she was not gettin out of it and calmed down. But i cried frustrated tears and cussed a LOT for almost a month with her.
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Update: ok so I ended up going to the barn 3 times this morning in order to get my milking done lmao (between the goats and my 2 month old who comes with me it was a proooocess)

BUT the third time was a little better!! I just put the bucket of feed on the stand for her (because it's kinda hard to get it on/off the hook on the wall) and I took things really slow, like one squirt of milk at a time. Between taking it slow and moving the feed when she sat down things went much better. We'll see how tonight goes 馃
last winter i had a grandbaby that did chores with me. He either sat in the stroller or i out him in the snuggly on my back. A good hiking pack is an investment you will absolutely not regret! He is a year and half now and he loves the pack still. We use it a lot here.
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last winter i had a grandbaby that did chores with me. He either sat in the stroller or i out him in the snuggly on my back. A good hiking pack is an investment you will absolutely not regret! He is a year and half now and he loves the pack still. We use it a lot here.
Thanks 馃榿 yep he goes in a carrier while I do chores. Once it's warmer we'll try a stroller or playpen too, it's just very chilly right now
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What I do for squatters or does who lay down, is I hold them down for a few seconds. I reach over their back and grab the other side of the floor of the stand, so the doe is held down with my forearm. I haven't had one who doesn't bounce right back up, deeply offended that I want to hold them down when they lay down. I might have to repeat a couple of times, but it works. If a doe was too much trouble, she'd definitely move on down the road. I don't have time for nonsense.
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