Good Milker Gone Bad

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by chooky, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. chooky

    chooky New Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Poppet is my best milker, shes giving me just under 4L of milk a day.
    BUT it's the milking drama that is ruining the whole experience for me!
    She started out GREAT - would come through the gate, straight up on the stand - and by stand I mean a platform - not restraints at all. Shes patiently wait for me to milk her out and often I was left waiting for her to finish her grain, then she's jump down and I put her back in the paddock - perfect!
    Well last week I went away for the whole week with the children and left my OH to do the milking duties. He hasn't milked before, so we started a few days earlier for him to get a hang of the whole thing. Poppet started acting up for him - jumping off the stand, kicking, she'd sometimes jump back up on the stand, sometimes not. So he battled his way through the week, and we both thought she'd be better for me when I took over again - but no. Shes just as awful.
    She'll start out ok, then about half way though start kicking and/or jump down from the stand. Now I can't even coax her back up on the stand and when I try to continue milking her she gets all kicky. I'm a pretty fast milker, so I try not to fluff around too much.
    I can't see any physical reason for this behaviour - mastitis etc. OH tried his best to work with her but she started this behaviour before I had even gone - just as he started to milk her. He was hesitant and a bit slow, so I thought she was just being impatient with him, but now I'm not sure.
    I've made a makeshift head restraint for the stand, but TBH It needs strengthening and hasn't been a success so far. I want to get her back to the way she was, this is causing me a lot of stress and really eats into my very tight morning schedule when I have to deal with her like this. :hair:
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this? Between her and my other problem girl, I was in tears this morning :tears:
    Presently she doesn't get any grain unless on the stand. But I don't have all morning to get her back up there if she refuses, so in a fit of frustration I have been trying to milk her where she stands with her grain in a bucket on the ground.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. Goat Song

    Goat Song Senior Member who ain't so Senior

    May 4, 2011
    It sounds to me like she got into a bad habit of feeling that she is boss, and now does what she wants. What you are most likely going to have to do is firmly let her know that such behavior is not tolerated. It may take a while, but she should eventually learn that it is much more pleasant for her if she stands still, like she used to. Until that happens, I would try tying her in one place, using a head lock, or whatever it takes. If she kicks, give her a firm pop on the rump; not so hard as to cause her pain, but enough to let her now that you mean business, and that YOU are the boss. She won't hate you for it, but she WILL eventually learn that kicking = a pop on the rump, whereas being still = a pleasant time.

    Just keep your chin up in the meantime; it'll get better. :hug:

  3. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    Don't cry over spilt milk, girl. I use the same technique Goat Song said, and it works.
    Hope you feel better and milking becomes pleasant again. :hug:
  4. Willow

    Willow Senior Member

    My 5 year old milker has been a brat for the last few days. She gets more aggressive with the other goats and ornery with me when she is in heat. Could she be in heat?
  5. Frosty1

    Frosty1 Active Member

    Jul 12, 2011
    Ahha! I have a girl like this! Except that she started this way. She loves to kick over the bucket, turn her rear end on the stand, and her FAVORITE trick... Planting her hind foot right in the bucket. :GAAH: Finally, last Friday, I put hobbles on her, but I put them on wrong. :roll: So she ended up with her head in the headgate and her feet on the ground. Then she managed to squeeze her head out of the headgate! Then to top it all off, (after I'd managed to catch her) she absolutely REFUSED TO GET ON THE MILKSTAND!!!!!! :veryangry: By this time I was pretty fed up, so I stood up on the stand and pulled her neck, but she just stood there! So, I stood there and tugged on her neck for a minute, and then I said "Beauty, in a battle of sheer strength, I'm going to win! And she hopped right on the stand and put her head through the headgate as pretty as you please! :doh: I was amazed to say the least. lol Hopefully my story didn't make you :ZZZ: Bottom line: I would try being firm with her. Start by using a tone that means absolutely, positively, no nonsense at all. Also, if she kicks very badly, I would try hobbles. I got mine from here: ... as=hobbles However, my goats can still kick and mess around when I have them where the pic says to put them, so I put them on like this pic has them. (hopefully this works. :wink: ) ... QQijFGCkoV
  6. chooky

    chooky New Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Possibly, her kids are now 5 weeks old. So she may be cycling again - I'm not sure how it works with goaties?
    I shall be nice and firm with her tonight. I'm glad the weekend is nearly here - at least I can try and deal with her a little slower and try and get her sorted, without the time pressure (plus get a stronger head restraint made!).
    Shes always been a little kicky with her rear left leg, but not as badly as the last few days. I don't know how much dirty milk has gone to the hens! At least someone is benefiting from the antics of miss Poppet.
    I can see my milking girls need a discipline review. My other doe is not a happy milker either. At the moment I go out to milk, not knowing what I'm going to get.
    :GAAH: If it's not my children it's the goats!
  7. Frosty1

    Frosty1 Active Member

    Jul 12, 2011
    I hope they do better. :hug: Let us know! :grouphug:
  8. HorsehairBraider

    HorsehairBraider New Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Mora, New Mexico
    There is a reason that milk stands have head locks on them. There is also a reason that hobbles were dreamed up... proper restraint will stop the bad behaviour and start new good habits.

    I have a good solid head lock on my milk stand and never fail to use it. When I am starting to work with a goat, I have a set of hobbles I use that keep the hind feet on the stand, where they belong. They literally can not pick up those hind feet to kick. This way the goats learn quickly to have good manners on the stand. It does not take long at all and I can dispense with them, but in the meantime my FF has learned good milkstand habits... and if she ever starts getting "funny" with me, I can always start to use the hobbles again. It is no skin off my nose, and that way, I do not have to yell at or cuff my goats for bad behaviour. They CAN NOT kick.

    I would suggest you use your very own Super Powers - opposing thumbs and a big brain.
  9. Itchysmom

    Itchysmom New Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    I had this problem with my Sasha, but in the beginnig. What a fight to get her on the stand! There are still times when she tests me by lifting a lrg and sqyirming. I pop her on the hip and tell her to knck it off and she settles back down. Just be persistant and don't let her get away with anything! does that ever sound familiar! :)
  10. Frosty1

    Frosty1 Active Member

    Jul 12, 2011

    Yeah, lol she and her mother are my "problem children". :roll:
  11. chooky

    chooky New Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Thanks for your advice everyone. I've ordered a set of hobbles which should hopefully arrive early next week and DH and I have spent the morning making a sturdy head restraint. We tried to test drive it with her, but shes now refusing to even get up on the stand.
    One positive from the last 2 milking sessions, is that once I eventually get her up on the stand, shes hasn't jumped off, even with my make-shift head restraint. I gave her a tap on the rump when she went to kick this morning. I'm hoping she is getting the picture.
  12. DavyHollow

    DavyHollow New Member

    Jul 14, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I NEED to get a picture of my girl Fifi on the milkstand. First of all, I usually have to pick her up to get her on it, then once she's strapped in and has a bit of feed I try to work on her hooves or udder and she SITS DOWN!!!! Its the funniest looking thing because she looks at me like "Hahaha I beat you". :p she's gotten better with persistance though. Not getting frustrated can be key to a speedy training.
  13. Robynlynn

    Robynlynn New Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    NW Iowa
    I have this problem with one of my does....she milks like a dream unless she has kids she's taking care of too....she seems to not want to let me have any milk. I talked to another breeder who said if they are saving milk for kids, some will resist your attempts to milk...I don't know if this is her problem or not...little changes seem to really bother them sometimes..
    I had started bringing one of my tag along bottle babies with me for chores to get him some exercise and he started following me into the milk Latte who is the sweetest thing and awesome in the stand threw a complete fit!!! not way....he was not going to be in there with her!
    I'm thinking the chnge in milkers had something to do with friends Togg refused to let her husband catch her when my friend left on a short trip.....he chased that goat every night to get her milked and he was quite perturbed!
    Milkers can be ceatures of habit and way smarter then we give them credit for.
    I find haveng someone to hold her just laying thier weight across the back...if possible~helps to settle them down...even if you have a horse blanket or saddle pad~that might help to make her feel secure?? Ihope this gets straightened out very soon! :pray:
  14. Frosty1

    Frosty1 Active Member

    Jul 12, 2011

    LOL That sounds hilarious!!! See if you can get some pics! :ROFL:
  15. RMADairyGoats

    RMADairyGoats New Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Hope she is doing better!
  16. luvmyherd

    luvmyherd Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2011
    Been there!!!!!!!!
    I was gone for two weeks and my son and DIL did the milking. When I came home, Tabatha; who had been an angel since her first couple of weeks of milking, would not even get on the stand. She is a rather large Nubian who does not like to jump up so she has a ramp. Just for her. No go. I found myself up on the stand hanging on to some wall rigging and pulling her leash until she finally went up. Then she danced and kicked so much I took away her grain and hobbled her.
    The kicker is that after we had been home a while my DIL came over to milk and takes Tabatha to the stand and waits a minute and up she jumps. Then she just stands calmly and lets Kelly milk her. WTH!!!!!!!!!!!!
    They all have their moments I guess. Today she was fine. I have been taking her grain away on days she kicks and giving her a special treat when she behaves.
    Good luck finding what works with yours. :hi5:
  17. chooky

    chooky New Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Well the last 2 milkings with the head bail have gone fairly well. She hasn't kicked or tried to jump down and she only tests the head restraint once shes finished eating. Thankfully our design seems to be working well.
    My current major issue is her total refusal to even get up on the stand.
    I've tried coaxing her with food - she puts her front feet up on the stand, but she knows that I'll try and lift her rear up, so she quickly dodges out of the way. It's a battle of wills - we both stand there waiting for the first one to flinch! DH thinks we should build her a ramp, but she is quite capable of getting up there - shes just refusing.
    She used to jump up with no problems, so other than being patient, I'm not sure what training technique to use.