Training a milker

Discussion in 'Goats' started by dosthouhavemilk, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have an almost three year old that I am trying to train for milking. This is her third time freshening. She freshened on Dec. 29, 2004 with twin bucks. Both ahve been wethered and are still on her.
    This doe comes out of a line of very flighty animals. Her grandam was a stray goat with infected horn areas that we took in. Her previous owner had had her dehorend as an adult and the area became infected. We treated it, looked for an owner (didn't contact the sale barn though, which is where she most likely came from), and decided to keep her. She was overly weary of men and overall a flighty doe. We could catch her though. She was here for about two or three years and had a couple of daughters. Well, she aparently taught these daughters to be flighty as well and every generation since her has been flighty. Not very friendly or calm. Jumpy, hard to catch. We keep them anyway because it is a decent line of does. Our kids are dam-raised.
    So Liliana is the third geenration and when she was in the barn last year she calmed down considerably, and has clamed down even more this year.
    She is not taking to the idea of being milked, however. She will come over, jump up on the makeshift milkstand (no stanchion as of yet, that is my next step in trying to work with her), eat her feed and doesn't freak out too badly when I touch her. I feed her on the milk stand twice a day and "milk" her once a day, sometimes twice. Her teats are smaller and harder for my numb fingers to a get a good grip on. That and she dances around when I try to milk her. I have been milking her and Danielle into a plastic calf bottle because the milk is currently going to a kid. I had hoped to use thier milk for soap and so need to get her to the point where I can milk both sides at once into a pan or bucket set underneath of her. I have been successful in getting a pretty even milking going at times on one side and she will stand and present for it...she also tends to lean her full weight on me at that point.

    So after all that rambling, my question is this;
    For those who hand milk does, how do you break them in, so to speak? Cows I can handle, because I can get a better grasp on them, with the does, they are much smaller and bounce around more. Should I simply keep on doing what I am currently doing and she should calm down? Have you had does this flighty? How long did they take to calm down. I am well aware each animal is different, I am simply trying to get a feel of how long it will be before I can successfully milk her like I do Danielle.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    roseanna that was a question out of my heard. i have the same problem with my doe. she was never milked but had lots of babies before. she is about seven years old and i got her about three weeks ago. she is very shy but i can kind of trick her if i hold one of her newborns on. i hope my other girls are pregnant. they are coming from a got milking line. they are first fresheners and every day i pet them also under their tummy and the udder. and they stay very quiet when i do this.
    susanne
     

  3. M&G-Nubians

    M&G-Nubians Member

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    I have a very shy one and it's a routine that helped the most. Doing the same exact thing everyday for about a week straigtened her out. Yes, She still dances a little once in awhile. But the routine was my key. Use the same lead leash at the same time of day with the same walk in the same milking order, placing my off hand on her back in the same place while brushing and cleaning and talking the same tone. Then milking the same way and letting her get used to me. I guess just keeping her anxiety level down. At first I tried the tough love approach and got nowhere. Yes, your right, each animal is different so you may need to tweak that particular animals routine to work for you. But once you find it everything will be gravy. I caught on to this when I moved my milkstand from one place to another. My other animals didn't mind. She didn't like the change and it took me a few days to get her in a routine again. Now everything is great and no more changes.

    And build that headstock
     
  4. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    If your doe is skittish and you leave the kids on her, then yea, they will learn from her and be skittish too..
    but I believe there is hope.. and it comes in the form of TLC.. and P (patience)
    What I would do is get her on the stand and brush her with a nice brush, then afterwards go over her with your hands rubbing every inch, all the while talking softly to her..
    I'd forget the soap for the moment :(
    If she is 'sort of' letting you milk her with one hand, then what I'd do is get a ss-bowl (stainless steel) and after the brushing and rubbing, use both hands to milk her into the bowl.. yea, most of it will probably end up on the floor, but if you just keep it up, and only stop when YOUR done, she'll catch onto the routine, realize your not hurting her, and will calm down.. I'ts hard to say how long it'll take for this to happen as all goaties are differant, but with TLCP, I bet it'll happen.. :D
     
  5. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I give lots of treats on the milk stand to does, that aren't born here. the ones born here, i hand feed. [bottle feed], this calms them so much, and they are easier to milk.
     
  6. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have absolutely no patience for animals like this. I take them to the sale or the dairy buyer :yeeha:

    I guess the one big thing I would suggest is that you bottle raise the next generation and get them really tame right from the get go. Disposition is definitely learned from dams.

    If you have troubles catching her, then a long drag rope on her collar is a big help. You can step on the end as she goes by and then pull her in, give her a cookie, and put her on the stand.

    I have a wooden stand that has a side rail on it. That's what I like to put the problem girls on, because I can shove my shoulder into their side, and pin them against the rail. With their head in the stancion, there isn't much of anywhere for them to go.

    My dh is usually out helping me during milking time, so a bad girl might get a hind leg held up while I milk them. If I was alone, I would use a velcro strap attatched to the stand on each hind foot. Or, you could hold up one leg and milk with the other hand. I give them as much freedom as they earn, so to speak :)

    I don't spend a lot of time brushing or petting anyone unless they really enjoy it-- some goats just don't like it. I have had several this way -- they were very businesslike, easy to milk and handle, but they didn't want anything more than an occasional wither itch. One old gal used to snort like a horse if you tried to love on her -- you opened the gate, she got on the stand, you milked her, let her loose and opened the gate for her to go back in. Unless she got trimmed or wormed/vaccinated on the stand, that was all the interaction we had with her. She was a top ten milker though, so she could have her little quirks. :)

    When I am done, everyone gets a cookie, and is led in the "go in" gate. I have an out gate and an in gate on my milker's pen -- saves a lot of fighting and shoving.

    Tracy
     
  7. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

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    were do i get cookies for goats? could i take the one for horses?
    susanne
     
  8. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm sure they'd like them, but I just buy huge bags of animal crackers at Walmart :)

    Tracy
     
  9. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for all the great advice! Mostly, she is one I was hoping to keep in milk for a show in Sept. The soap was just an aside, since selling raw milk in Ohio is illegal and we have Jersey cow milk so drinking it wasn't something that would happen in this case. The soap would hopefully bring in a little extra to help pay for their keep. As it is we get back maybe half of what we put into them monetary wise right now. Trying lots of new things this coming year.
    The nice thing is that she is in a smaller space in the milking barn (cow in this case). I have been handling and feeding her everyday for about two months (and of course did this last year as well). She actually knows when it is time to get up on the milkstand for eating. She waits at the place where I open it and has to wait her turn. She is done after Danielle. She stays closer everytime. She is calming down fairly well but still doesn't like the idea of being milked. She no longer races around and around the pen while I try to grab her collar.
    She has yet to have any does. All bucks so far. I was hoping for a doe this year, but it didn't happen. If I can get her calmed by next year and she does have a doe it should be easier to calm them and I will probably supplement them with a bottle to calm them even more.

    Tracey, we have a total of 14 does right now and one of them is aparently barren (she will be sold this year if she doesn't kid, same age as the above doe). We sell the kids for meat basically since they aren't purebreds. The ones I am milking are dairy though. I have some pygmy dairy crosses that I won't be milking and we now have a Boer dairy cross that I will milk (she is only 1/4 Boer) next year when she kids. We have a herd of mutts and it isn't required that they be milked,it just seemed like something I could do to help out. Now, if I was into milking goats and had quality dioes that needed to milk then I would not have kept her around unless she straightened up. She also would have been raised differently. :) We sell first calf heifers that don't settle down...but usually we have quite a bit of luck breaking them in....just takes time adn lots and lots fo patience.