Maternity Watch & Milk Stand Training
We have 3 expectant does at Gullringstorp. We are now certain that Nanna, Keriana and Alika have been successfully bred. They were bred in December and hopefully will deliver their first babies. Our job here at Gullringstorp is to not only make sure our mothers-to-be are kept happy, healthy and sound during their pregnancies, but also to prepare them for the milk stand.
Yes, our ladies do their part here at Gullringstorp by not only providing animal companionship for us, but beautiful babies and wonderful nutritious fresh milk. I know it’s a misconception or a myth that goats love being milked and love to just hop up on a milking stand. I am here to tell you this is not true! Goats need to be trained to the milk stand and eventually trained to let down their milk .
Here is the process:
- The very first thing to do quite early in the pregnancy, is to stop all grain
- The mothers-to-be will be fine with good quality hay and of course straw and the occasional bowl of fruit and veggies
- Approximately 2 months from the expected due date, it will be time to offer grain. Goats have a 5 month gestation.
- The trick is… to offer that delicious grain, on the milk stand, ONLY
- Because you will be milking your goat twice a day, morning and evening, it is important that your goat becomes accustomed to getting her grain on the stand twice a day
- Once you goat learns that the much wanted grain is available ONLY on the stand, they will willingly get on that stand
- During the 2 months that you are training and getting your goat used to the milk stand, this is also your time to get her used to your touch around her udder
- By the time your goat has delivered her beautiful babies, she will not only be very much used to getting on the milk stand , but she will actually look forward to it
- The milking process… I will leave that for another post!
My new mothers-to-be have just begun their process yesterday, March 15, 20012
We had success yesterday morning only with Nanna. She was quite eager to hop up and place her little head in to be held there as she ate her breakfast.
While Nanna ate contentedly on the milk stand, I was able to feel her tummy which is growing under all that beautiful fur. I was also able to feel her underside starting at her chest and working my way down to her udder. I kept my gloves on since it’s still quite cold. Nanna was either too busy enjoying her grain, or she will be one of those rare goats who doesn’t mind having her udder touched. After my exploration of her underside, I just sat on the stand next to her and talked to her. Then I went around to the front and stroked her cute little face, All of this to make her as comfortable as possible n the stand. Either way, it went quite well for my first time with Nanna!
I had no such luck with neither Alika nor Keriana. They wanted the grain but wanted nothing to do with the stand. No worries. I have the patience needed to see this process through. They don’t give you 2 months for nothing. Depending on your goat, you may need every day of those two months. No grain for Alika or Keriana for breakfast yesterday!
Dinner time feed ing went a bit better! Nanna was first up on the milk stand. She is tiny and one of our Pygmy goats. She seems to bounce as she walks so watching her hop up on the stand is just too cute!
Alika is quite a bit larger than Nanna; she is a Nigerian Dwarf, but she is more on the stockier side. I needed a push from the back to get her head in position. Once Alika was in the right place , her head was locked in and she ate peacefully.
There is a power play taking place during the beginning of this process. You as the goat owner want things done a certain way and they , the goat will do things their way. Eventually you either have it your way or there is some sort of compromise. It becomes a battle at times. Goats can win due to their size and strength. We goat owners, get a bit beat up during this process. Holding a goat by her collar or pushing her up on to the stand can be a bit humiliating for the goat, but they can yell bloody murder during the process. They may have their pride damaged a bit, but we goat owners walk away with bruised shins from being rammed or wrenched wrists from goats twisting away from you.
Our Keriana was one of the first babies born here at Gullringstorp. She has a Nigerian Dwarf mother and a Swedish Lantras for a father, hence her fluffy hair-do. I am giving serious thought to shearing her like a sheep when the weather turns warm. When Keriana was first on the stand, she laid down. My first thought was, humm… this would really make milking a bit difficult! I tried to lift her up but gave up and in time she decided to stand up. When she finally stood up, I was able to feel her underside and work my way back toward her udder.
This is a process that must be repeated until she and the others deliver and are ready to be milked.
This morning, I only had Nanna on the milk stand. Alika and Keriana wanted their grain but didn’t want to get on the stand.
I was firm. NO STAND = NO GRAIN !
So far we have had success with Nanna , morning and evening, only success with Keriana and Alika in the evening. Looks like Keriana and Alika prefer to have their grain for dinner, only. That may change. It is still early days yet, but I have confidence in both myself and my ladies. Wish us luck!
This is a process that goat owners who wish to milk their goats must follow. Although, I am really curious how other cultures prepare their goats for milking. I think about the people living in places like Mongolia, mountain top villages in Iran, Afghanistan and other remote locations.
I would really love to hear from readers who milk their goats and learn what their process is.