Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goats~ The Milking Stand Situation

Well….it’s official. ‘The Milking Stand Situation’ has turned the corner. Over the last 10 days, we have gone from: (we, meaning Wild Child and I, local milking team) terrified and hostile, to cool, calm and collected.
Thank goodness too, as I don’t think my ribs were willing to take much more of being thrown around by a 100+ pound doe!

In the photo above you can see the milking stand that Ed built me, gotta love that guy, to the right of the shelter. Milking Stands are useful for keeping fidgety does in check by locking their heads into a type of, for lack of a better description, goat guillotine.
(without the blade, of course!)
If you look closely, you can see the slot into which the doe’s head fits. The trick is to hang a bucket of (tempting) food on the front of the stand. The doe, being curious and hungry, hops up onto the stand, squeezes her head through the gap and begins to munch.

(Nom Nom Nom)

The farmer can then slide one of the vertical slats of wood over to fit snugly beside the doe’s neck and “lock” it closed using a long screw and some choicely placed holes drilled into the wood beforehand. The doe is still able to eat (and kick, mind you) but is unable to pull her head (due to adorably enormous ears) back out of the stanchion until you unlock her.

Greatest. Invention. EVER!

You can see a few ‘extra’ legs in this photo….Wild Child doesn’t seem to mind her buckling Cheap Trick joining her on the milking stand. He doesn’t try to get at her feed, he just likes to be close to her, so I let him. He better enjoy it while it lasts, because soon, he won’t fit anymore!

I am still a beginner at the Art of Milking, which is seriously hard to learn, and haven’t been getting much more than half a cup at each milking. She probably has more milk to give, but when that food dish is empty, as you can see above, she is OUTTA THERE.

As I get quicker, and she in turn becomes more patient with me, I’m sure the amount of milk treasure will begin to rise. But for now, I am just so happy that she is finally getting onto the stand at her own free will. She took a few days to learn to trust me, and I her. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that she has a baby in tow to care for, which I understand and respect to the fullest.

Here is this afternoon’s milk which I will add to the collection jar once it has cooled off sufficiently.
Below are some more candid shots of the kids. Enjoy!

Runty is finally finding her personality.
But....Next on the to-do list: build a Key Hole Hay Feeder so that a ‘certain someone’ stops stepping on dinner.



Cheap trick is partial to only one side of the udder, causing Wild Child’s bag to hang unevenly until I milk her out. I only work the side on which the baby does not feed (the larger side), to reduce the possibility of uneven udder growth.

You can see that my henny penny girls are very much enjoying their new and improved free range area. All of the recent rain (and snow) has brought up lots of insects for foraging, which will help them to grow back their feathers faster and START LAYING SOME FREAKIN EGGS AGAIN! SHEEEEESH!!!! (I’m totally not bitter)

You can also see the ghetto climbing sculpture I put together for the energetic buckling to bounce around on (which he does, frequently and exuberantly, it’s hysterical). It is made from Hattie’s old Dog loo, a bunch of old tires, and some cinder blocks! Goats love to climb by nature, so anything tall, and strategically placed far from fences gets the job done.

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading, and I hope I’ve found your herd, no matter the species, doing just as well. Take care now.

~Katie
p.s. one more sweet something for ya for the road...

video

4 comments:

  1. Well done!! So proud of you guys!! I love the pictures of your kids and freakin' love their ears!!!
    sending love from VT
    ~jen

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  2. Runty is SMILING!! I love the pictures and updates on the family!!

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  3. My kid would love your kids :)
    He is a real animal lover.
    Looks like you are having a lot of fun.
    (and it's mim, not "anonymous"-just not really sure how else to leave a comment.)

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  4. in case you guys didnt know (i was amazed when ed showed me)if you click on a photo it becomes enlarged! woohoo!! fancy!!

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