After a week of milking Clover accompanied by my band of merry helpers, I decided it was time to get serious and get more than half a jam jar out of her. And it was time for me to learn to milk Clover alone. After all, I can’t expect my band of merry helpers to be so merry about tagging along with me every morning at 7 am. I started off by finally separating Clover from the babies overnight. I borrowed this larger and more comfortable crate for their sleeping quarters. I left a mint on their pillow and read them a bedtime story. They didn’t complain too much when I tucked them in.
I woke in the morning with high hopes, knowing Clover’s udder would be full. And it was very full. She hopped right up on the milkstand, eager for her food, and eager, I prayed, to be relieved of all that milk. The milking was easy for few moments. She scarfed her food down and the milk flowed quickly and easily from her heavy udder. I’ve got this milking thing down! But she eats too fast. I hadn’t given her all the food, so I gave her some more. And then some more. But she eats too fast! And there is only so much food I can give her, or even that she wants, all at once.
She started struggling, throwing her head around inside the milkstand halter. Scuffling away from me, so I’d have to grab her to keep her from falling off the milkstand. Kicking. And kicking.
She knocked over the bucket and then she stepped in it. Then she said, “I am done with you, woman.”
And then I cried.
And this is all I ended up with by the time it was over. I had to throw out even this puny amount because she’d stepped in it.
But I’ve made some progress in my week of milking. I’ve gotten to where I can milk her pretty handily. And I’m at the point where I’m separating her from the babies at night so that she has enough milk. Now I need a goat hobble–you can see what that is here. And I think I need to construct some kind of barrier so that she can’t fall off the opposite side of the milkstand when she’s trying to sidle away from me. I’ve got to get to where I can milk her alone and I’ve got to get to where I can control her enough to do that. If any of you out there with milking experience have any other ideas, let me know.
Note to Clover: “We are NOT done, missy!”