I’ve been super quiet around my blog recently, and if you’re curious as to the reason why – well, meet Idee and Odee, our new Nigerian Dwarf goats! (If you caught the Captain EO reference, you rock major socks.)
I blogged not too long ago about my plans for urban homesteading (read the post here), and I mentioned that I was planning on getting a milking goat so I can have my own source of raw goat milk to feed Tessa as I wean her off of donor breast milk.
I’d love to say that my inability to blog is because I’ve been so busy milking and storing and drinking yummy raw goats milk – but it’s really all been spent in feverishly finishing the shed, fence and gate, and stocking up on “owning goats” supplies. Even with the working from sunup to sundown days (and there have been many these past few weeks!), we still haven’t touched close to half of my neverending “to do” list.
We still need to build a storage shed off the goat barn. And build a shade over the side exit for the goats to play on. And move / install the watering trough. And rebuild the gate. Oh! And just this teensy weensy little thing that I had on the bottom of my list, but turns out is milking goat essential #1…
BUILD A FREAKING MILKING STALL.
Okay, so I knew that Idee was used to being milked on a milking stand. I knew that trying to milk her free standing would be new and different for her. But I thought, meh, easily overcome. She’ll just get used to my being all old school busty milkmaid on her and we’ll each settle into a brand new routine together. Just a girl and her goat. Humming old ditties while the sun rises, just the sound of the goat softly muching her grain and the gentle ping ping ping of milk streaming into the milk pail. Ahhh, so nostalgic. So zen. So so so… UNREALISTIC. (At least without a milking stall, it is.)
So first night, Jonathan helped me hold her steady while I fumbled around tweaking her teats trying to figure out how to milk a goat for the first time in my life. She was a little freaked out that she was being milked without her customary nighttime snack and didn’t get the whole strangers-crouched-at-her-side bit. But she was patient with me, and while freaked out (her milk wouldn’t drop for a loooong time), she finally relaxed a bit and we got to at least empty SOME of her udders, though nowhere near enough. (Don’t mean to brag or nuthin’, but for being a total goat milking noob, I picked it up pretty dang quick. But, yeah, I still suck.)
Idee, trying to give me the slip as I chase her around the pen trolling for her booby juice.
But the next morning, while hubby was away at work, I was all by my lonesome. It was a disaster. I don’t even want to type about it, because it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it. I seriously spent most of my morning crying in the goat pen.
Idee was initially okay with my trying to milk her, but she kept shifting around as I would get into position. Without a milking stall, I just couldn’t physically hold her in place, milk, and hold the bucket steady. So I did what I had read to do when milking a goat without a stall.. I straddled her with my legs to hold her into place while trying the ol’ reach around.
Yeah. When a goat says no, she MEANS no.
I guess Idee doesn’t like being partially sat on by a handsy stranger. Not only did she freak the eff out (sitting on the floor so I couldn’t reach her udders, running, backing up, etc.) she got to where she wouldn’t come ANYWHERE near me. She was literally running from me as fast as possible where I couldn’t get close enough to pet her, let alone try the ol’ straddle routine again. She wouldn’t budge, even when I spent an hour hanging out in the pen, reading out loud and bribing her with fresh veggies.
Finally, my mum came over and helped me catch her and I quickly went to work on her udders. My mom spoke sweet and soft and petted her face, and she relaxed, nuzzled into my mom, and enjoyed the pets so much she started to fall asleep on her feet as I milked.
Anyway, long story short.. until my husband builds me that damn milking stall, milking consists of a two man catch-the-goat routine. I feel like a horrid goat abuser as I corner her in the goat pen, and then by the time milking is over, and she’s lovingly nuzzling me, I feel like an epic milkmaid with a furry lactating friend.
So this weekend? Milking stall. It’s happening.
Hopefully, by this time next weekend we’ll have settled into a stress free milking routine. Hopefully. Wish me luck?