Goat balking

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Cheryl in SD, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    I am having a problem with my doe. I built a stanchion and she did well with it. The trouble was that it was outside and we have had rain. She HATED that part and we are trying to get the barn up. The barn is now all done but the tin, so when dh gets home from this trip it will be ready for use. As it is still raining off and on, dh moved the stanchion to the garage until he gets home so we have a dry place to milk. The goat HATES it. She had to be lifted onto it twice, but then dh left and I simply can't lift her. Oh, I did try but she weighs 200+ pounds and all that accomplished is that now I will be visiting my chiropractor and I am up at 3:00 in the morning with a very sore back. She milked fine once she was up.

    Last night after trying to coax her on for 20 minutes I finally tied her and milked her that way. But bending down that far is not going to be an option with my back the way it is. I moved the stanchion and in the morning will add a ramp so that she doesn't have to step up at all, but can just walk from the hill straight onto the platform. I am hoping that will help.

    However....

    Does anyone have ANY suggestions for getting her to willingly want to go up on that thing? I tried bribery, no go. I won't use a hotshot (fil's suggestion). Anything else?

    Thanks,
    Cheryl
     
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    hmmmm sounds like my Brownie goat. She was so frustrating at first. Darn goat had me in tears.

    She required three people to get her up on stand and then she danced around but I would take her grain away whenever she started in. By last year (3rd milking) she was running 200yds and jumping on stand just as pretty as you please. This year she freshened without milk but last week came back into milk and eager to be on the milk stand....she is a pig of a goat and easily motivated with grain.

    I dont know if the ramp will help...we have one and the goats only use it to dismount....they hop right up to start. If you could put a lead on her and feed through the head spot on the milk stand and rig a pulley so you can pull her head as you pinch or swat at her hamstring (back leg) it might be more effective. But I totally understand....by the time you are done with her your muscles are all shaky and you still have to milk....it stinks but you need to show her what you expect and that no matter what she WILL do it.

    In the future get a bottlefed doe....much better cooperation.
     

  3. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    First off, baloney on the "bottle fed doe" hypothesis. They don't have any better idea what a milk stand is for than a dam-raised doe. And the ones I've dealt with get no special stars for "cooperativeness" either. In fact, just the opposite. They didn't seem to respect my personal space and would walk right over me as though I weren't there if there was something they wanted or somewhere they wanted to go. ALL my dam-raised does jump right up onto the stand, no problem. Sorry to go on, I just get a little hacked off with the constant harping on how much better temperaments bottle-fed does are supposed to have. I just has not been my experience in any way. OK, now I feel better. Down to business.

    The best thing to do with any doe is start young, letting them jump up by themselves while exploring, and feeding them small grain treats on the milking stand from a very early age.

    But that doesn't help with the current problem. It sounds as though your doe started out doing OK on the stanchion, and then grew to hate it because you were milking her in the rain, which all goats HATE. It sounds as though you've done the right thing in putting the stanchion in the garage. Anyplace dry is a huge improvement. I presume, since she was OK with it at one time, that your stanchion is nice and stable? It needs to be, especially for a large goat. A wobbly stanchion will also put a goat off.

    At this point, I would try going out there, not at milking time, and doing a little training. Bring her favorite treat cut up into tiny bits, like a half-teaspoon-sized piece, maybe thirty of them. And maybe thirty of a different kind of treat, as goats can get bored. Apply clicker training methods. There's lots of clicker training info on the web, and for the record, you don't need a "clicker." Just a unique sound that you can make consistently. I use "good girl" said quickly and with a particular tone.

    I've used a "pointing" technique to get goats to go where I want them, including onto a milk stand. Get a stick a couple of feet long. Put something interesting on the end, just a tiny bit. When the goat touches it with her nose, "click" and give her a treat. Do not reapply the interesting bit at the end after she's touched it three or four times. It really should just be something that smells nice anyway, not a food treat. You're the one with the food treat. Anyway, after she gets her reward, let her touch the stick again. When she does, click and reward. Repeat. You can add a command, like "Touch," only rewarding when she touches after the command. Pretty soon, she'll follow the end of the stick anywhere, on command. Don't make her do it, though. Don't touch the stick to her nose. Let her figure out what works and make the effort. And be very specific. If she touches the middle of the stick, it's no good. She gets no reaction whatsoever. Only when she touches the end. Let her make the decision. She'll realize she's the one in control of when she gets a treat, and then she's yours.

    If there isn't anything she's at all enthusiastic about, apply pressure combined with clicker training methods. For me, pressure might be a rope attached to her collar and half-wrapped around something on the far side of the stanchion, or one of the stanchion uprights. Make it just taught enough for her to be a little uncomfortable. When she fights, hold it steady. When she yields, and she will eventually, even just a smidgen, let her maintain the lack of pressure she has earned for 15 or 20 seconds, then tighten up again. Also, as soon as she yields, use your clicker cue and give her a bite of treat. This will cause her to inch toward your goal. She may get to a point where the front half of her body is resting on the stanchion and the rear half is standing on the ground. If you can grab her behind one stifle and lift forward, she should pop up onto the stand. This will be the hardest part on your back. When she finally does get up, make a fuss over her, if she likes that, and give her a couple of treats - the big bonus.

    Get her to go up and down several times. Then do the same thing at milking time. Key is to make sure you have plenty of time so she can go however slowly she needs to.

    Let me know if you need any more details.
     
  4. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Whats her incentive for getting up on the milkstand? Grain? Is she hungry for it or does she have grain also in her barn? Take away the grain in the barn. Milkers, especially a doe who really weighs 200 pounds, doesn't need any grain but on the milkstand. It gives her incentive to run across the rain, and find the milkstand to eat. Vicki
     
  5. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I've got two first fresheners, too. One was reluctant, although introduced to the stand and feed box on the stand some time ago. They have realized pretty quickly now, since they've freshened, that the other feed boxes have been removed, and the Only way they get grain is on the milking stand. The reluctant one had to be talked into leaving the stand this morning, long after she had eaten all her goodies...and extras!

    Good luck with yours. I'm sure she'll settle back down. Perhaps there is a scent in the garage that puts her off?

    Meg
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No offense intended...I actually use both methods.....but as a first timer milking a goat I should think and have seen that a bottle raised baby (or a used milker) is much easier to handle.....as an experienced goat handler/milker I wouldnt have a problem training a dam raised....in fact Brownie's daughter Cleo was dam raised and is now a good girl at milking time (her 2nd freshening). Experience is a good teacher!

    I agree to let her only have grain on the stand....thats what I do. I wish I could show you pics of my girls up to their bellies in water trying to get tall grass in out pond that dries out by summer's end.....they dont like water but under certain conditions....grain or good green grass they will brave the waters!
     
  7. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    Paige is doing much better!

    I built the ramp and moved the stanchion so she is out of the rain, but still not 'in' the garage. I get a little wet, so will gradually move it back in further.

    I have been only giving her grain in the stanchion and she does love it. She is 3 yo and is VERY stubborn. She acts like a child who has always gotten her way. Today I had to give her some probitics and nutri-drench (she wasn't eating right last night or this morning, the vet health person suggested we start with that.) She hated it! BUT with my neighbors help we got it down her. I didn't do it in the stanchion as I didn't want her to have another reason for not liking it.

    Thanks for your advice! I am going to try the stick training and next time I am going to work at getting the does to know it earlier.

    Cheryl in SD