basics: We were given three Nubian does last September.
We have two beautiful does who each gave birth to a set of twins, one 10 weeks ago and one 6 weeks ago. The births were uneventful and the babies are thriving and jumping and frolicking. My husband made a milking stand from plans I obtained from the Fiasco Farm site. I bait the bucket with goat chow (their absolute FAVORITE thing in the whole world) and can get Margo up there by myself but then she freaks out when I try to milk her. When her babies were first born I had to unclog one side of her udders because it was fully engorged and it took some work but I managed to get it unclogged and she let me milk off about a half gallon (poor thing! ugh! I remember early breastfeeding!). I just trried milking her for the first time again over the weekend and it was.... fairly traumatic. I tried again today and she will have no part in the stand whatsoever. Her daughter, Temmie, won't even get near me if she sees I've put grain in the stand bucket. I'm at a loss here. I don't want to force the goats to be milked because it seems wrong (oy) but they are expensive to keep if we're getting nothing from them and our entire purpose of obtaining and fencing and fencing and fencing (!) was for lovely raw goat milk.
Any seasoned vets out there with some ideas/advice for me? I have a local friend I talked to briefly (she is very busy with her own herd) and she just said I'm giving them the upper hand. ???? Help!!!!!
We just kept repeating exposure to the stand and a full grain bucket. :) It can take some time- particularly if you don't start milking right off the bat with them and they are a little older. Often with new milkers, it was a two person endeavor. After about 10-15 times they all knew the routine. We also started milking when the kids were very young and would let them nurse one side as we milked the other - that sometimes helped to settle them.
It really does seem to be all about repeat exposure though, and lots of handling both when milking and not.
I feel your pain. One of my does starts off this way every new season. Here are my suggestions. First, I assume that the kids are still nursing so you don't have to worry about the does drying up if you don't milk them. Second, routine and patience (I know, it's very hard). Make sure the goats are in a strict routine (it's the only thing in my life that is scheduled). So, if you milk at 7am, be there within 15 minutes of that time every day. If Margo is the first you deal with, make sure it is always that way then deal with Temmie, always in that order. If you can, make sure both are out with you in the milking area, but tie up Temmie while you are milking Margo. Temmie can watch and see that Margo is fine, and Margo will probably feel calmer knowing she isn't by herself.
Onto the milking. For the first few days, just focus on feeding grain only on the milking stand, and that's it. If they want the grain, they will have to get up on the stand. I have been known to lift a goat up myself, but it's rare. Don't milk, just sit calmly talking to the goats and massage the udder. Use Bag Balm to massage. I discovered one of my does gets really chapped teats and it just hurts to milk. The Bag Balm makes a huge difference. Once done with Margo, switch to Temmie and repeat.
After the does get used to going up on the milk stand to get grain and they are used to you massaging their udders, get a bucket that you don't plan on keeping the milk in, maybe a bucket to give the milk to other animals on your farm. Or use a cup and dump the milk into another bucket. I do this so that if a hoof gets in, I don't feel the milk is ruined, since it wasn't going to be used by me anyway (less pressure to get clean milk). This time, instead of just massaging the udders with bag balm, start to slowly milk with just one hand. If a hoof keeps coming up, hold onto it firmly with a free hand. This is the part where you wish you had 3 hands. Talk calmly and take your time.
This is the routine that works for us and I hope it helps you out. Don't give up, it takes time with some goats, just like breastfeeding :)
How is it going now? IME you just have to keep up with the routine. They will eventually settle down once they get used to it. Make a schedule and stick to it every day.
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