It's a start!

DustyBoot

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Dottie's kids are two and a half weeks old now, and growing fast, so last night I penned them next to their mom for the night (with feed, hay, and water) and made my first real attempt to milk a goat (I did a little milking a couple of times when one side of her udder seemed engorged, but just enough to relieve pressure and make it easier for the kids to get at it). It went about as expected for a first time. She was anxious about the kids and not especially excited about what I was trying to do. After a while, I let the kids in with us and they ended up butting her and sucking on my fingers while I was trying to milk. Which was a little distracting, but certainly got Dottie cooperating better. :gig I gave it a reasonable go and decided to end it before we both ended up frustrated. I also figured it'd be good to leave some milk for the kids while we make the transition to sharing it. I ended up with a quart of milk. Room for improvement, sure, but I'll take it.

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My co-milkers. :D
 

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Awesome! Congrats! Just be patient and keep at it. :D Hope you find the milk as tasty as we all do.
 

DustyBoot

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Today went better, sort of. This time I tried skipping the hobbles, because it occurred to me that maybe they were making her uncomfortable and she'd stand better without them. Sure enough, she did. She ate and stood nice and still, I milked, and just as I was starting to feel like I was really getting the hang of it, up came the babies. Apparently I didn't do a good job blocking off the wide spot next to the gate of their pen, where they can still slip through. And my milking stall is just cattle panels, so that doesn't even slow them down. I tried ignoring them, but they were climbing all over the milking stand and me, trying to stick their heads in the bucket, butting everything in sight, and sucking on anything that looked even remotely like a teat. I decided to call it a morning and make sure they're better contained tomorrow. Only got three cups today due to the interruption, but I really think we were getting somewhere. Feeling hopeful for tomorrow!
 

DustyBoot

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Got the kids secured in their pen today, so no interruptions. Dottie ran right to the milking stall and stood beautifully, and I actually felt competent. Woohoo! However, once the initial let-down was over, she wanted nothing to do with me bumping or massaging her udder to get more. Jumping, kicking, she was DONE. I assume she wanted to hold back milk for the babies. I got about 2 lbs. or 3 cups of milk, which doesn't seem phenomenal. Anyone done the milk-sharing thing and have any thoughts on that? I was told she was giving a gallon a day last time she freshened, although I took it with a grain of salt because they wanted me to buy the goat. ;) I don't expect a gallon since I'm only milking once a day and she's also feeding the kids, but should I be working at getting more at this point or will it work itself out as she gets used to the routine and the kids get older and need less milk? They'll be going to their new homes once weaned, but I didn't want to do the bottle baby thing and also wanted to have them around as back-up milkers while I learn.
 

DustyBoot

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I don't know how I'm doing, but I'm over the moon about this whole thing. We're now getting our own milk and eggs, not to mention angora fiber from my bunny. Starting around April we'll be processing our own rabbits, so add meat to the list. We're not getting as many eggs as I'd like, but I have a dozen pullet chicks in a brooder in my living room right now so that will change soon enough. We need to get our act together regarding a vegetable garden, but I'm terrible with plants so I'm not sure when that will happen.

And even if 3 cups a day is what I should expect for a while, we were only buying a gallon of milk per week so it'll replace what we were buying. I'd eventually like to get more for making yogurt and cheese, of course, but I can be patient. :D
 

Baymule

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Join theeasygarden.com sister site to BYH and you will find lots of friendly people that will be glad to help you with starting a garden!
 

DustyBoot

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I'll go check it out! I just don't get plants. Animals, no problem. We have our rough spots, sure, but there's always a way to work it out. Plants? :confused::barnie:hu But darn it, I WILL have a garden. I'm hoping one of my kids will turn out to have a green thumb and come to my rescue. If we weren't so far out of town, I'd offer someone gardening space in trade for tutoring me, but most people within an easy drive from here have enough space for their own gardens.
 

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When the seller said a gallon a day, it was probably at peak production and milking twice a day. You should be getting closer to 1/2 gallon at morning (12 hour fill) milking if you milked her completely out. You might try after separating the kids from her in the evening, milk her out completely. Don't give up, even if she fights. That might encourage her to make more overnight and you get more in the morning. Just a thought. Glad it's going well for you. You'll both get more comfortable over time.
 
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