Cappers Farmer Blogs > My Journey into Hobby Farming

Frustrations of a First-Time Milker – Year 2

By Amy Conley


Tags: Hand Milking, Goat Milk, Goat Hobble, Goat Cheese, Conley Farm, Amy Conley,

Amy ConleyIt is said to be the year of the Goat. It was the year of four baby goats and two goat mamas on our farm. Last year, Ginger had one baby and it was my first time milking. There were many problems that came along with it. She had me so frustrated at times.

This year I tried to stay calm and go with the flow during the birthing season. It was a lot easier knowing a little more and being ready with a milking stand if I needed it. When both Nya and Ginger had twins, I figured I was home free. There would be no getting a hard udder since two nursing babies would cure that. Well, I was wrong. After a couple days, I noticed Nya was not letting her babies nurse on one side. I put her in the stand for several days in a row and milked that side. I even would put the babies on her when she was in the stand so they would get used to that side since they were being conditioned to only nurse on one side. It took about a week and she seemed good. Ginger had the same problem but it only lasted a couple days and her babies did great.

milking 

So each year that I have had baby goats, I have taken them back to the place I first purchased my goats in order to get them dehorned. John at the Beekman farm in Sharon Springs, New York, is so good with his goats and shows so much love to these babies after they get dehorned. They smell a bit like burned fur afterward but it is worth not having horns. I brought them home and Nya didn’t want anything to do with her babies. Oh no, what did I do? Three hours away from mom and now they smell funny; she was not having it. I again had to put her in the stand so they could nurse since they wouldn’t take a bottle. Luckily it only took a day.

Twins!

What a difference a goat makes. When I wrote my first article, Frustrations of a First Time Milker, I mentioned how Ginger would always kick the bowl over or stick her foot in it. I had to buy a goat hobble in order to keep her feet down. Well, the first time I milked Nya, she just stood there without being hobbled and did great. That didn’t last. She doesn’t just try to kick, she does it with two feet and takes the whole stand with her. I had to put cinder blocks in front of it so it could not tip over.

Goats are stubborn animals, but they are also so loving, it makes you want to scream. A little kale and some carrots have calmed her kicking habit. This year, even though Nya is a first timer, I have made her my main milker mostly because she is so much easier to milk. With Ginger, my hands and arms hurt after I milk her and it takes longer.

milking Nya 

All the babies went to good homes and I am milking twice a day. I decided to dry up Ginger and just milk Nya until the fall. I have a ton of milk already frozen for my soap business. The piggies enjoy two quarts of milk a day, which leaves me enough to play with. My youngest son always asks for goat milk. I love that. To read more about my journey, check out my Facebook page.