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Hard, hard day for me, one of the very three hardest of the year, but I got a lot accomplished today. Josh took the kids so I could have a me-day. I was a good Flybaby all through the house and had some decent centering time.

The biggest deal, imo, was I milked a goat for the first time! It was way harder than expected. Rosie has never been milked before (Josh squeezing a bit here and there excluded), so we are all learning together.

Milking a goat involves:

* Washing her udders/belly down (not that it helped with the hair/dirt situation much)
* Giving her a bunch of grain in a (futile) attempt to make her hold still in the milking stand
* Josh laying across her butt &/or holding her feet so she'd stop kicking
* The girls chasing the chickens away as they scramble for the grain Rosie drops and scare her senseless
* The girls chasing the kids away when they squeeze through the gate
* The girls trying to pet Rosie and tell her what a good job she's doing
* Being ninja-fast to move the bowl when Rosie gets insanely kicky, despite Josh's restraints
* Switching off with Josh because I do not have a back of steel
* Switching back because standing over her is harder on the back of noodle and scary when she gets too kicky around the baby belly
* Switching back and forth between teats, which startles Rosie no matter how much I give warning that a switch is coming
* Squeezing more than properly milking (not at all like the tutorials suggest)
* The milk stopping once I finally get a rhythm going, so switch again, more kicking, see all of the above
* Lots of stray hairs - in the milk and all over me
* Hurry get more grain! She's out! She's kicking! She's mad! More hairs!
* 1 hr of back-breaking work for less than 1/4 cup of milk (decidedly less than all the tutorials would suggest)

I hope that we will eventually all improve with this. It was not at all super-successful, but we do have a few tablespoons of milk! Yeah!



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 6th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
My knowledge that comes solely from the Little House on the Prairie Books suggests that you will only get a decent amount of milk if the animal is milked everyday at the same time of day. Is that what the tutorials say to do?

I love what you and your family are doing! I am living vicariously through you and it's so exciting! :)
May. 6th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Well, she had been self-weaning her kids, so we decided we'd better jump on it and start milking before she dried up. I'm not sure if we'll be able to pull off the exact same time every day, as my work schedule often changes, but we're going to try to do it consistently and hopefully that will help!
May. 6th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
In the books they milked their animals every morning at dawn. I am curious to hear what "experts" on milking say though since my knowledge comes from children's books :).
May. 6th, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
Well I know from nursing myself that a body gets on a pretty decent schedule. I think that will help, if we manage to get one going. I'm not sure about quantity, but I do know that if she's not letting the kids nurse, she'll dry up. I don't want that at all! I worry that I didn't get enough out of her just due to my lack of skill, but I think if we do it much more often, it'll get going pretty good and she'll start producing more.
May. 6th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
want me to give your number to (formerly dread) amanda-with-the-goats, see if she can give you any helpful pointers?
May. 6th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for the offer! I must admit, I'm not much of a phone person. Does she have email? I do have a goat raising friend that I have made sort-of close by. We email pretty often, and she's had us out to see her set up. I think it's probably just a case of all of us (Rosie included) needing practice. That's what I'm hoping, anyway!
May. 6th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
A goat! Wow! I milked a goat once on a school field trip. My goat must have been well behaved. I was so worried I'd hurt her when I pulled!
May. 6th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this one is not well behaved. lol She's new to it too though. But she likes to kick and throw tantrums.
May. 6th, 2011 12:03 pm (UTC)
Ha ha! I had a dream last night that you had goats, and here you are talking about goats!

May. 6th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC)
Did you really? That's awesome! Well, we've had the wethers for a long time now, but the milking goat is new. It's been a dream for a very long time!
May. 6th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
Educational story! Remind me that when I've got my farm and I'm ready for my first milking goat to get one that has been milked before. One newbie at a time is probably best.
May. 6th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Get one with nice, big teats, too! Rosie's are too little for me to really get a hang of the proper grip, I think. I probably should have had someone show me in person first. I was just watching youtube videos of goat milking. We just kind of went with the one we could find that was cheapest, or I would have gotten a really established milker from someone who could show me how. :/ Hopefully we'll get the hang of it. She did much better today! Stood still and nice for it. I just still don't have it quite right, so we're not getting a lot of milk at all.
May. 9th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, I must say that separating the kids made all the difference! We hadn't separated them at first, because I wanted to make sure I knew *how* to milk before it was extremely necessary that I milked her (I know how uncomfortable engorgement can be!). But we kept them penned away and are working at weaning them now. Went out to milk and Rosie's udders were huge! It was so much easier - and she was eager to stand still and let it happen. We went from getting barely 1/8 cup (if that) to getting a whole liter today! It worked so much better. Today was a success. :D
May. 22nd, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
Re: Saw this and thought of you! :)
Thanks for that link! Very interesting. We don't actually have a buck right now, and I had no idea that the smell might taint the milk. Very good to know! We will have to find homes for Rosie's boys before they get too much bigger, I think.

Rosie is a Nubian, and they're definitely right about the description. Though they give a bit less milk, we're already overflowing in extra! And my kids drink a lot of milk. It's time to hurry and learn yogurts & cheeses! We need to start using that stuff up.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


Ahavah Ehyeh

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