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Ok, I'm obviously a newbie to goats. Pair that with a goat that's never been a milker...well. So here are my most prominent issues and I would appreciate some advice from some seasoned veterans!
1. Nellie does not like getting on the milk stand after a week of trying to milk her. Treats abound (which she loves). I think she just does not want to be milked.
2. When she's eventually on the stand, she'll stay still enough for me to milk one-handed (I generally have to hold one leg with my hand, or she'll step in the milk). As soon as the grain/veggies are gone, she goes a little crazy and milking is 10 times harder. I think it would take a pailful of grain for her to stand still long enough for me to milk her (no I would not give her that much- just sayin.), especially if I have to do this one-handed.
3. I can NOT figure out a good finger position to milk her consistently. I have looked at just about every youtube video I can find on milking NDs and can't get the milking to work with me. The most I'm getting is about 1/2 cup in 1/2 an hour. But it's generally more like 1/4 cup.
I'm getting kind of desperate for some progress with both of us. :GAAH: Any tips?
 

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I do not milk my goats, but what I have had to do to some goats that had to be milked out for whatever reason, is I take a towel and wrap it around their leg and tie it to the stand so the can not kick.

Just a thought.
 

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Have you seen this video?

When my goats kick, I bump their udder. Our goats don't like that and learn to stop kicking. If they put their foot in the bucket, I smack them (not hard) and tell them "Bad girl" in a harsh tone of voice then keep milking like nothing happened. Plan on losing a lot of milk while they are being trained. And as sweetgoats said, you can try tying up the back leg.
 

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aim_az said:
1. Nellie does not like getting on the milk stand after a week of trying to milk her. Treats abound (which she loves). I think she just does not want to be milked.
2. When she's eventually on the stand, she'll stay still enough for me to milk one-handed (I generally have to hold one leg with my hand, or she'll step in the milk). As soon as the grain/veggies are gone, she goes a little crazy and milking is 10 times harder. I think it would take a pailful of grain for her to stand still long enough for me to milk her (no I would not give her that much- just sayin.), especially if I have to do this one-handed.
3. I can NOT figure out a good finger position to milk her consistently. I have looked at just about every youtube video I can find on milking NDs and can't get the milking to work with me. The most I'm getting is about 1/2 cup in 1/2 an hour. But it's generally more like 1/4 cup.
It is very normal to be frustrated! It's hard for beginning milkers, especially with FF!

1. She'll just have to get used to it. :p Do you give her grain when she's up there? I wait to give my girls their grain until they are behaving for me, that way they learn that it is good behavior that gets them their food, not bratty behavior. I've found that giving treats to "make them" behave instead of giving them to reward them will make my girls think it is my sole duty to supply them with a never-ending flow of treats, and if not, woe on me.

2. Get a hobble, that may help her learn to stand still. And make sure that your hands and her udder is disinfected, and dip her teats afterwards. If you go from holding her dirty leg to touching her udder, that may be an invitation to mastitis.

3. You've gotta find what works for you, and for the teat size of your goat. Main rule: pinch and squeeze. Don't pull, and don't push the milk back into the udder. Do that, and you're golden.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Rosti, yeah, I've seen that video-ours is similar to the first goat (though bigger in body), except she never calms down enough for me to use both hands. I also wish I could have seen her milking her from the other angle. I've tried hobbling and she just either picks up both legs to try to get out or just sits on me! I've tried smacking her and saying NO and then moving on, but it seems to just scare her and make her more finicky. Would tying the leg work better than hobbling? I can still imagine her sitting on me in that scenario. My biggest concern is that I'm still going to be so bad at milking when the babies are weaned that I'll end up losing the milk supply. Sweetgoats, how do you actually tie the leg with the towel? Is it more like a sling, enclosing the whole leg, or to you tie a knot to the leg and then another knot to the stand? Is this like a thin beach towel?
Rosti, I do give her grain- generally just a little to coax her up (ha! it used to work) and then after I've brushed/wiped her down, I'll give her the rest. I also mix in fresh veggies to try to make it last longer, but she's a hog and eats so fast. Good reminder about not touching the udder after grabbing her leg. Doh. How do you take a break to reward them and then get back to milking? Or do you just give grain when you're done milking, if they've been good?
 

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I found a goat hobble extremely helpful for a nervous first freshener this year. I only needed to use it for a week or so before I could milk her without it. Fiasco Farm has a great page on how to correctly use a hobble: http://fiascofarm.com/goats/hobble.htm

I can sympathize with the small teats - I've never milked a Nigerian Dwarf, but one of my LaManchas has Dwarf-sized teats. I also watched a lot of videos and tried a lot of techniques. During my first couple weeks milking her I think that I got more milk on me then in the bucket, there were quite a few tears. Eventually, though, my hands just learned how to do it, and by the end of that year I was amazed that I had ever found it much trouble! It might just take some time and headaches before your hands learn the same.

I also found that the LaMancha doe would calm down quite a bit if I sang to her when I milked. You can also try putting a couple of large rocks (too large to be swallowed) in her feed dish to slow her down when she eats.

Good luck!
 

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A spray bottle with water can be helpful. I have had some goats that were absolutely horrible. Last year we worked with two of them until they gave up, it was really hard and took a long time, and I had to have help every time for a long time. I won't be doing that again, if it's that hard they are going to the butcher. It sounds like your girl is not that bad. Patience and learning, both of you are new to it, and she isn't kicking and screaming and throwing herself around. She'll be fine and you will learn too. I spray them in the face with the water squirt bottle if they act up, they really don't like that and it helps. Also tying a foot. I use a 2 foot cotton web leash to do that when I need to.
 

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One thing to remember too is keep ahold of the teat that you are milking. Go with her if she jumps or stomps her back foot. If you let go of that teat when she fusses, she has figured out how to get you to let go, and will continue that behaviour. Never hang on to the point that you are pulling on that teat, but position yourself so that no matter how much fussing or moving she does you can keep your hand on that teat. Always wait till she stops fussing to let go. Good luck :p
 

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Everything they said :greengrin:

I learned to milk on three Nigerians, the teats are small, but that is all i know, so i doubt i could milk a full-size goat. My herd queen was a total b%#[email protected] last time, i had to hold one leg up for several months. This time around she is an angel. I didn't try hobbles, b/c i wanted her to know that I was controlling her. She and her sister were 4 years old and never had been milked before. This time I have her two daughters as my FF's and they have been fairly easy to milk, barring the super-tiny teats they started out with, but behavior-wise they have been pretty good, a little nervous, but not deliberately naughty.

The only advice i'm going to disagree on is the smacking them if they are bad. Yes i have been VERY tempted, esp when they put a foot in the bucket and spill it. But I have been doing more 'positive' training with my dogs over the years (and my children, where physical punishment is definitely frowned upon in this day and age) and I have gotten away from whacking pets and children just b/c I am mad. (My one exception is when they are doing something dangerous like running into the street) I also don't want my girls to associate the milking stand with negativity. I say 'NO!' in a loud voice, and praise them when they calm down.
 

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One thing about tying a leg. If you forget and let their neck out of the stand before you untie them it is a terrible panicky thing. I have done this, and it's terrifying. Fortunately I never broke a doe's leg. The first time I did that was my big nubian, I was really lucky no one got hurt.
 

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I milk into a 4 cup measuring cup, I can moniter each of my 3 does out put as well as avoid ruining all the milk should one get antsy, I dump into a chilled SS pail after each cup full.

Mine do get their feed ration while I milk and I have found that if I add a cup ful of Alfalfa pellets or broken alfalfa hay cubes, they eat slower and don't get fidgety.
I'm one who has cracked a doe on the rump while telling her NO....It's usually all it takes and I know each of mine well enough to know when they're ready to pick up a foot, at that time I just remind them by saying NO in a firm voice, they relax the foot they were ready to kick with. Also...I've milked one handed often enough while holding a hoof firmly on the stand, it's not a quick way to milk but it does save any that may have been kicked over.
 

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Hang in there. I had the worst goat ever on the stand. But I was not to be beaten by a goat and after a month of spilled milk, tying legs, fighting this goat- she stands beautifully! Even my children can milk her now. I wanted to give up soooo many times after milk sloshed everywhere! My best advice is to stick with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Welcome! Those little teats will give you hand cramps big time! On my girls, and I have very painful arthritis, I hold the teat in my hand, as if I were holding a pen, I squeeze the teat near the udder to stop the flow back into the udder, then push my thumb and 1st finger together forcing the milk out the oriface. I have a couple of different methods for holding teat...as I can't keep one position too long.

Also, I use an EZ milker, you still have to "start" and "finish" by hand, but, any little bit helps at this point. With small goats it's a little harder, you have to position it at an angle. But, with my Lucy Alpine, it's so much easier.

Don't give up, I had to physically pick up those Nigerians and put them on the milk stand for several weeks. I finally convinced them that wasn't dignified...with help from DH. Now, they are perfect on the stand and I have no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the tips! I think I definitely won't try smacking her again- she hasn't learned anything by it and just gets more scared and jumpy. I'll try slinging a sheet under her and see if that helps any. I heard that the hobbles advertised on FiasCo were too big for ND's- anyone have experience with those? I tried only giving her the goodies after she was standing still and ended our "session" with her munching the grain/BOSS/alfalfa pellets mix and my just talking to her and scratching, so hopefully she'll get the hint that the milk stand isn't all just a terrible place to be and won't fight so much to get on there. Onward ho, I suppose. :roll:
 
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