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!”
Can you move it against the wall? We have ours against the wall for milking and when we trim hooves, etc we just scoot it out so we can work on both sides. That keeps them from falling off the other side when milking. Don’t give up as she will eventually get use to the milking and you will get faster.
On August 19, 2008 at 5:53 am
Carolyn A. says:
Almost there Suzanne. You’ll get it, I know you will. You are a bound and determined goat milker if I ever saw one. xxoo
On August 19, 2008 at 6:04 am
Make a chute. Bring 2x 4 up theback and run flank boards from the front to the back. It’s going to look like some
sort of “midevil” torture contraption. but it will keep her from scrabbling around. You know you could probably do it with dowels or pvc. She isn’t that heavy, is she? 40-60lbs?
You go girl!!! How many goats do you want?
On August 19, 2008 at 6:23 am
Meghan Rosenstengel says:
My cow inhales her food, too. We put about five fist-sized rocks in with her feed and it slows her down.
When Clover fusses, keep on milking. You don’t want her to learn that you stop milking when she has a hissy fit.
On August 19, 2008 at 6:26 am
I don’t have any advice for you, only encouragement. Hang in there, she’ll eventually get used to it.
I like the rock in the food idea, give it a try.
On August 19, 2008 at 7:31 am
Do you have a Barry White CD? My cousin SWEARS by her Barry White CD. Oh, I agree to really tighten up on the chute, too. Clover will be fine, and so will you! She will get used to it more and more every day.
On August 19, 2008 at 7:44 am
I too was going to suggest rocks in the food to slow her down…we do that with horses that inhale their food and do not take time to chew it up before swallowing then they get choked. Big rocks too…you don’t want her to be able to push them from side to side easily.
ok, the goat hobble…I agree you need one but…is velcro really strong enough to hold when she kicks? Seems like she would be able to pull that apart easy enough then you will be chasing a flying goat hobble….but I guess they wouldn’t sell it if it didn’t work….
Start telling yourself it is OK to have spilt milk during this learning process. In fact, plan on several buckets of spilt milk until she learns to be still…that way you do not get upset everytime you milk. Pretty soon you will have so much milk you will look back your 1 Tablespoon blog posts and just roll your eyes at yourself!!!
Here is the next question….were you wearing chore boots? this may be you problem Suzanne…
Tresh in Oklahoma
On August 19, 2008 at 7:46 am
I can’t really offer much advice on milking I’m afraid.
But good luck!
Maybe find a way to slow her chow time, add some molassus to the mix or something?
Hope you get more out of her next time
On August 19, 2008 at 7:51 am
Lisa L. says:
Hmmm….not sure of any advice to add…my experience is limited to children and dogs. It looks like you have it under control though. I think that contraption will definitely work for the kicking. Can’t wait till you have enough milk because I’m dying to find out how you are going to make butter and soap. Keep up the good work!
On August 19, 2008 at 8:14 am
You made progress…she jumped up on the stand! Give her some hay, put on her hobble and don’t give up! She’ll figure it out–I agree with the other comment about not giving up when she’s having a fit.
On August 19, 2008 at 8:28 am
Debbie in Memphis says:
You’re doing a great job; it’s only been a week and look how far you and Clover have come already. We’re all right there supporting you…too bad we can’t help with the kicking 🙁
I think the hobble is a great idea and as the other poster said, soon you’ll be looking back on this with fond memories – while you’re using all those gallons of milk for cheese and soap.
On August 19, 2008 at 8:38 am
It’s awful to be so frustrated you cry. It takes time, hang in there.
On August 19, 2008 at 8:44 am
Nicole Reising says:
Don’t give up!!!!
On August 19, 2008 at 8:48 am
absolutely no advice for the milking dilemma. But I’ll sure give you points for persistence!!
On August 19, 2008 at 8:50 am
I’m so sorry Clover made you cry. I wish I could offer some words of wisdom, but everything I know about goats, I learned right here! I can offer moral support, though. I say go for the hobble and show her who’s in charge!
On August 19, 2008 at 8:59 am
I agree with whoever said to not worry about how much milk or her stepping in the bucket. Getting her used to being milked consistantly sets up a pattern. It’ll become habit. She’s already getting up on her stand…. she’ll catch on to the rest. You’re doing great :clap: Don’t get discouraged.
On August 19, 2008 at 8:59 am
I noticed that in your milk stand there is nothing to lock in clovers head. The link above shows a milk stand that does. Will clover eat whole carrots? I was thinking that if she had something harder to chew then oats and hay it would slow her down a tad.Carrots like sugar beets are sweet like candy to them. We feed the dogs carrots for treats and as puppies for teething toys.
On August 19, 2008 at 9:03 am
Suzanne McMinn says:
There’s something to lock her head in, it’s just above what you can see in the pics in this post. We used the milkstand plans we got from that site you mention–it’s a great site!
On August 19, 2008 at 9:08 am
Shari C says:
Don’t give up. You almost have it and are improving each time. You cannot let Clover think she has won or you will never get her to let you milk her…she will think she is ‘the BOSS’…not a good thing.
Remember…The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!!!
On August 19, 2008 at 9:23 am
where is spartacus when you need him???
On August 19, 2008 at 9:37 am
Crystal B. says:
(HUGS) Hang in there.
On August 19, 2008 at 9:41 am
I lived on a farm while in college and helped with milking the goats.. They were used to being milked and didn’t cause any problems.. but the way I was taught was to straddle the goat facing toward it’s hind end.. then bend over and reach underneath to milk.. you can use both hands that way. These goats were bigger than Clover but I think it could work.. Since they were bigger we could actually lay against the goats back and relax during those early morning milkings. I found it to be sublime.
On August 19, 2008 at 9:55 am
Beth Brown says:
I just wanted to tell you that you are paving the way for me!!! I purchased mininubian goats this spring with the intentions of milking Bella, my doe, when the time comes. I’ve printed the plans for the milking stand and love the idea of the hobbles. But you are miles ahead of me, at least you knew that the does had to have babies in order to produce milk! I hadn’t a clue – and I have 5 kids of my own!! Anyhow, thank you for your wonderful blog!
On August 19, 2008 at 10:12 am
Amy Addison says:
You go, Suzanne. The daily habit will overcome her resistance (like I’d know. The sum total of my farm knowledge would fit on the head of a pin with room to spare), and eventually you’ll get all the milk you want.
On August 19, 2008 at 10:44 am
Mental P Mama says:
You know, this saga is starting to read like a little book to me… :shimmy:
On August 19, 2008 at 10:46 am
RE: photo. It’s hard to resist those eyes! Coco is such a sweet giant puppy.
On August 19, 2008 at 10:49 am
Ohhh, that is all I need, to make my day, seeing PRECIOUS Coco..yep, she knows she it! PRECIOUS!
I LOVE that picture of Clover looking over the side of the stall at you> LOL
YOu made me laugh saying you left a mint on thier pillows. LOL
The babies are soooo cute, in thier carrier! Do you have to get all that milk out of the udder, by a certain time, or she will start to hurt? Just wondering.
On August 19, 2008 at 10:54 am
I LOVE your blog!! I think my daughter might finally look at it – they’ve rented a farm house in a teeny town in Iowa while she sells hers in Atlanta. They have lots of land, already doing a fence outside the dog door in the garage to make a pen for their 3 Catahoulas, and last night she said she found a farm with goats! They will have more babies in the Spring, and she is really excited. Now she’ll have to read about your learning experiences!!! Thank you for sharing…you will persevere! Clover, give it up! Nancy :purr:
On August 19, 2008 at 11:11 am
Oops -I wasn’t clear – dtr doesn’t have goats now but plans to get 1 or 2 (everyone said she needs 2) from the farm down the road.
On August 19, 2008 at 11:12 am
Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:
I agree with others about the importance of keeping at it and developing a consistent schedule of milking. It just takes time. A horse has to be broken, so does a goat.
The babies are so adorable!
– Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife
On August 19, 2008 at 11:12 am
Sliced Bread and More says:
Keep up the good work. I admire your determination! Clover just doesn’t know who she is dealing with….or is it the other way around? Just kidding…lol
On August 19, 2008 at 11:13 am
Gloria Jean says:
I’ve nothing useful to add, just my thanks and appreciation for your blog. I start every day logging on for an update to your adventures. The continuing goat saga is of special interest as my grandmother had a small goat dairy in Massachusetts in the 30’s and 40’s and my mother and aunt were the milkmaids. I LOVE how you are unstoppable! If you sit down and cry you then get up and try again. Thanks!
On August 19, 2008 at 11:14 am
Teresa H. says:
You’ll get it down Suzanne! I have faith in you…look at all the things you’ve accomplished so far! :thumbsup:
On August 19, 2008 at 11:17 am
You’re a stubborn one, Clover, but the lady with the pail is your friend, and she when she wins this battle of wills, you will make beautiful cheese together. I hope you gave the stepped-in milk to the chickens; they would enjoy it. Of course, the giant puppy or the cats would probably make quick work of that little bit. Keep us posted. It’s fun to read about your milking adventures.
On August 19, 2008 at 11:24 am
Robin G. says:
Oh, damn. Have you considered a shot of whiskey, either for you or for Clover?
On August 19, 2008 at 11:27 am
Gail L. says:
You are doing a terrific job! Keep up the routine and I’m sure Clover will cooperate and even look forward to being milked soon.
On August 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm
You are really doing so well. Don’t get discouraged. I like the idea of large rocks in her feed to slow her down. Don’t give her more feed – that can make her very sick. The comments section reminded me of when I started…my husband sent me to the feed store for either hay or straw. I forgot which and had to admit to the clerk that I didn’t know the difference. But I learned and you will, too.
On August 19, 2008 at 12:55 pm
Well, I really don’t have any suggestions other than tying her back legs together…and she might not appreciate that too much.
On August 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm
When I was younger, I used to take 2 buckets for milking. The first bucket I had 1/4 full of hot(not boiling hot but dishwater hot) water, with a nice clean rag. The second bucket for milk. Squeeze the water out of the towel and place clean around the utter and wrap it, this helps release her milk and relaxes her also. Don’t let the towel get cold, take it off before you begin milking. Also, spread the feed out so that she can’t get too much in each bite. The more she concentrates on her feed, the less she concentrates on what you are doing.
On August 19, 2008 at 2:28 pm
P.S. – In my rush this am…I didn’t notice that Clover looks like she is slightly smiling at you! Like “what’s the problem Suzanne? Don’t cha love me?!” LOL
On August 19, 2008 at 2:39 pm
Sarah S. says:
Good luck! I think the hobble will be worth while. It will save you lots of time and energy. :sheepjump:
On August 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm
Hang in there, Suzanne!
On August 19, 2008 at 3:18 pm
Could you give her some hay after she finishes off her grain ration? Maybe that will help keep her distracted while you milk. Good luck :cowsleep:
On August 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm
Karen B says:
:wave: No advice – just enjoying your trials and tribulations!
On August 19, 2008 at 3:53 pm
Note from Clover: “Bring your best on!”
Suzanne, remember practice and patients will always win out.
On August 19, 2008 at 4:23 pm
I am impressed at your persistance. Good luck and I’m sure you’ll be a milking pro very soon.
On August 19, 2008 at 4:24 pm
I know absolutely nothing about milking, but can say “You’re doing great!” *g*
On August 19, 2008 at 4:26 pm
😆 oh no “crying over spilt milk” already! Hang in there, you and Clover will learn together. Thanks for sharing.
On August 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm
Should you be working on the touchy feely thing with Clover’s daughter as well? Get her used to you feeling her …uhmmm tiny udder now while she is immature?
On August 19, 2008 at 9:27 pm
Sunnid beat me to it :rotfl: Love the pics!
On August 19, 2008 at 10:12 pm
Granny Sue says:
We used to wash our goats’ udders with warm water, too, as someone else suggested–it kept dirt out of the milk. And gave it a slight massage, as I remember, to help them let their milk down. Our stand was against a wall, which also helped control the goat. Continue as you’re doing, Suzanne. She’ll get used to it. I wish it would go easier for you. And you’ve done well to get her separated from the kids. Big step there.
On August 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm
You don’t need to buy a goat hobble. I just used a soft belt from off a robe and just tied the back legs. Worked good. She’s young she’ll get the hang of it but you need to start working with your doeling now so that when she is ready she will be used to it. I practice leading my babies around and feeling their faux udders. They get used to you touching them….down there.
On August 20, 2008 at 8:20 pm
:cattail: Sounds like you may be getting the hang of it. Just keep going. Keeping mama away from babies is a good idea, she will give more milk. Wish I could be there to help you. I really like your blog.
On August 22, 2008 at 11:43 am