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Milking dry run

Goat milking stand

As Abigail gets closer to B-day (which could be now or at the end of the month), I'm easing her into the milking routine. She needs that extra attention since, unlike our little lap goat, Abigail isn't a big fan of being fondled. But over the last week or so, I've gotten our pregnant goat to the point where she doesn't mind me feeling under her belly and along her tendons and looking under her tail as long as she's chowing down on her morning ration. So I figured it was high time we started moving her to the milking stand before her morning OB/GYN appointment.

Although most of you will probably think it's crazy, we're considering leaving the milking stand on the front porch. The plus of this location is that it's far away from manurey bedding and is thus quite clean. Plus, it's close to the fridge and running water, making the prep and aftermath of milking easier.

Goat breakfastOn the negative side, Lucy gets fed on this porch at the moment, and our loyal dog is not a fan of anyone except herself and humans eating there. As obedient as ever, Lucy did allow the goats to usurp her porch Sunday morning, but I could tell our dog was edgy due to the amount of split firewood she dragged off into the yard to gnaw on. And Lucy's edginess made Abigail edgy, so our pregnant goat didn't allow me to feel her up the way I usually do.

Meanwhile, Artemesia proved to be even more of a problem. Our little doeling kept trying to hop up onto the milking stand, causing Abigail to butt her off. Then the doeling started exploring the porch, so I ended up tying her to one leg of the milking stand. Unfortunately, I haven't been training Artemesia to understand being tied to a leash, and so spent a lot of effort trying to figure out why she couldn't ramble whimsically about.

So, maybe the porch wasn't such a good idea after all. Or maybe everyone just needs a few days to settle into the new routine?

In the meantime, I'm hoping that some experienced goatkeepers will help me determine how soon after kidding we should start milking our goat. My plan is to shut the kids into the kidding stall for the night, milk Abigail in the morning, then let the kids spend the day with their mom. But when do I start milking? Various sources tell me I should wait three days, two weeks, or much longer between kid birth and starting to steal the kids' dinner. What do you do?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I don't think there's a hard and fast rule about when you can start,, as long as the colostrum has switched to milk... it really depends on how many kids the goat had and how much she is producing. Like if she had 2 kids but is only giving a quart a day you may want to wait 2 weeks before you start taking milk...but if she has 1 and is milking a quart I would start sooner,,,one baby goat doesn't need a whole quart of milk...but 2 babies do for awhile. I always left kids on , then milked any extra milk in the morning and evening to evaluate if any milk was being left over. That helped me determine if the kids got enough milk. I sure didn't want to be greedy and take to much at the cost of the kids health.thats what worked for me in the years I kept them.

Comment by angie Tue Feb 10 08:48:23 2015
Angie --- That's extremely helpful and explains why I was getting contradictory data from different sources. I like your idea of milking her after the kids drink to see where she's at --- like you, the kids' health will be my top priority.
Comment by anna Tue Feb 10 10:41:27 2015


This is a blog that may be of interest to you regarding your goats.

One of her goats just had twins.


Comment by Anne Tue Feb 10 12:50:17 2015
Seems to me the goats and dog are just going to have to learn to share the porch. :)
Comment by Na Yan Tue Feb 10 16:50:18 2015
Trying to get caught up on my blog reading; so many great posts to read. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule on when to start milking. As Angie says, it depends on production and the number of kids. I have one Nubian that I have to milk out from day one because she produces way more than even twins can handle. I freeze the extra colostrum in muffin tins, marking the day# on each batch. I've used it later in emergencies, such as a Nigerian Dwarf doe who needed help with triplets. I used my Nubian's extra milk to feed the ND's hungriest kids. That little goat never got milked; it all went to her kids. If uncertain about colostrum, take a taste of the milk every day and go for it once it tastes good.
Comment by Leigh Wed Feb 11 06:33:11 2015

Thank you for recommending our blog, Anne. We had another set of twins this morning.

I start milking my Nubian does the day the kids are born. They still produce more than enough for the babies, plus I think it stimulates them to make more milk in the long run. When the kids are two weeks old, and the weather is not too cold, I put the babies in a pen with a dog house full of hay each evening. That is when I start to slowly introduce them to a little grain, as well. I milk the does in the morning, then let the babies out for the day. This way I get more milk, and the does continue to produce more milk to feed the babies during the day. It's a system that works well for us. I hope that helps.


Comment by Fern Wed Feb 11 21:06:21 2015
So funny, we are sharing very similar experiences. My doe is due to kid mid March and my milk stand is currently on the front porch and my issue is our dog too. He has never been allowed to be around the goats without a fence between them. I think he will just have to put up with being tied up, or put on the screened porch during milking until we get our barn built. Can't wait to read out your new babies!
Comment by Karla Thu Feb 12 05:53:04 2015

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