We just got 3 Nigerian Dwarf goats a few weeks ago. First we got two adorable, small sisters, and then two days later we got another goat, coming by herself, who was in milk. I didn't realize it at the time, but she was leaving her herd, and her kids, behind, and her owners had just gone away for a week and had a stand-in milker who had had trouble milking her. So, she was understandably nervous in her new surroundings, and milking did not go well.
The first few times she did jump up on the milk stand, and let me try to milk her for a few minutes. I was very new at it, and so I didn't get milk for a while. Eventually she squirmed, kicked and then finally lay down. Worried we shouldn't let her go unmilked, my husband went out two mornings in a row and milked her while holding her leg up, as he had seen in a video,
My tack was to try to get her to do it willingly, since supposedly she had willingly let her previous owner milk her. This took me forever, but I did quickly train her to stand up again (after lying down) for a carrot. I did also sort of force her, by picking her up and holding her up, but not as restrictively as my husband. Eventually, when she really resisted, I'd let her go back in her pen.
It was very stressful going out there several times a day and trying to coax her, somewhat forcing her, etc. Her previous owner said she could milk her out in 4-6 minutes. I was spending close to an hour it seemed, and I have a clingly two year old that I was leaving in the house with my mom. Just coaxing her up to the milk stand took a lot of time.
Finally one night as I was walking out to the barn with a feeling of dread, I decided to stop milking her, and try to get her happy with her new situation by spending time with her, etc. and planned to breed her again, or one of the others and try to get milk after kidding.
It's been a few days since then. This morning when I went out to the barn, I had a bit of second thoughts, wondering if I had kept forcing her (gently and with treats) if it could have worked out. I tried milking her and she did have milk, but I let her go once she lay down.
So,,,, do any goat experts out there have an opinion? Is it really so bad for her to be forced? Would she come around if I continue? Or is it better to go for quality of relationship first, and milk second? I am bummed to have given up on the milk, but it is much less stressful. Being right before Christmas didn't help, as I had so much to do that I wasn't getting to (because of trying to milk her for so long several times a day). I have a feeling if I start up again I could get her supply up, but should I? Will it be different if I breed her again?
Thoughts will be quite appreciated!