How to Train a Goat to Stand on the Milking Stand (8 Tips)

Training a problem doe to the milkstand is mostly a matter of attitude: your attitude! Here are tips to help you train your goat to be a milker.

If your goat has given birth to her kids and you're eager to start milking, you might have some questions about how to train a goat to behave on a milk stand.

Some goats need more training than others. If your goat is one that needs some extra work, you'll learn how to train her to stand on a milking stand in this post. Discover how to teach her to cooperate for a stress-free milking routine for both you and our goat. 

8 tips to train a goat to stand on the milking stand

Many years ago we bought our first two Nubian goats as weanlings. 

The next spring, I decided maybe I'd better get a goat that knew how to be milked, since I'd never milked an animal before. At least one of us should know what we're doing, right?

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Chloe, the four-year-old Alpine doe I bought, taught me well.

When it came time to milk Dream, one of the original pair we'd bought, it was a one-goat rodeo! I was very thankful that I wasn't a total greenhorn at milking!

But it was still frustrating trying to milk Dream. Really frustrating. Stick-a-hoof-in-the-milk-bucket frustrating. Every single day.

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A badly-behaved goat

First, Dream wouldn't even get up on the milk stand. Oh, her front hooves would go up on the stand, but not her back feet. She'd stick her head in the feeder and gobble the grain while her back feet were still on the ground.

Moving the milk stand fixed that issue for the most part. I figured out that I needed to give her a clear path to walk straight towards the stand and up on it, rather than expecting her to make a U-turn when she walked in the milking stall.

So, that problem was easy to solve just by relocating the milk stand! That small victory really helped.

But she would not stand still while I tried to milk. This girl could have tried out for the Radio City Rockettes; she definitely had the moves. 

While she didn't actually kick me she did stomp on me a few times, and we always ended with at least one hoof in the milk bucket... or an overturned and spilled milk bucket.

After which the barn cats and my two Great Pyrenees dogs, waiting with gleeful anticipation, would jump into the fray to clean it all up for me.

Major frustration!

I tell you, I was completely frustrated. I thought many times of throwing in the towel and giving up. Did I have to milk this goat?

But I'm stubborn (just ask my hubby).

I finally asked a goat-owning friend for advice, and what follows is the gist of what she told me, tweaked a bit for my own situation and added to from my experiences.

These tips helped, but it wasn't an instant change

While there wasn't a dramatic, instantaneous change in Dream, these tips did help a lot. Dream and I did come to an understanding, and these tips contributed greatly to our compromise.

For most female goats, once you have her trained she'll be a good milker every year. 

Dream was one of a kind though. She threw her one-goat-rodeo-fit every single spring, and I'd have to remind her again how to behave on the milk stand. 

After a week or so of using these tips, she'd settle down again. The cats and dogs loved it while it lasted!

Training a problem doe to the milkstand is mostly a matter of attitude: your attitude! Here are tips to help you teach your goat to be a milker.

Here's how to train a goat to behave on the milkstand

1. Locate your milk stand so your goat has a clear path to walk straight to it and jump up.

2. If you are milking more than one goat, milk the troublesome doe last so you aren't frustrated while milking the "good" goats.

3. Assume that for the first week or ten days of milking, you are only going to give the milk to the dogs. It will keep you from being [too] upset when the goat sticks a hoof in the bucket, or dumps it all over the milk stand. And all over you. Really, it will.

4. Use a deep, heavy stainless steel stockpot to milk into, not a fancy milk bucket. It will be harder for the goat to stick her hoof in the tall stockpot.

It's also harder for your goat to lie down on the stand if there's a tall stockpot in her way - although she might lie on top of your arms. 

5. Have a second stockpot or a milk bucket. Pour the "clean milk" into it every so often. And if you're milking the problem goat after your other goats, their milk won't be splashed all over the milk stand if it's safe in another bucket.

When your stubborn goat sticks her hoof in the bucket, you might already have some in the second bucket that is clean. See? Today wasn't a total loss.

6. Attitude is important - your attitude. Assume that today she is going to be well-behaved. Relax. Be patient. (And don't let a bad attitude affect the other goats. See tip #2.)

7. Always do things in the same order, every day. You are in the business of training animals. Milk your goats in the same order. Follow your routine to the letter.

8. Get your goat used to being handled before she ever comes into milk. 

Of course this isn't always possible, but if you are raising your doe from a weanling or newborn, it will be easy to prepare her to be a milker long before she is one. 

At a month old, Dream's daughter already knew that the milk stand meant treats!

7. Measure your goat's feed before bringing her to the milk stand. Have everything ready before you start. Lock up the barn cats or the puppies or anything else that will be distracting to her or to you.

How to train your goat to be a good milker.

8. If your goat is especially difficult, you can squeeze her leg just above the hock with one hand while you milk with the other. Squeezing this tendon will help keep her from kicking or stomping. 

Milking one-handed takes longer but this was the trick to teaching Dream to stand still. She couldn't move her hind leg while I was squeezing the tendon.

Patience is a virtue

Most of all, be patient! Patience is the biggest tip of all. 

Remember, "with love and patience, nothing is impossible." - Daisaku Ikeda

Without my friend's advice, I might have given up that first spring. I'm glad I persevered and that these tips helped me to train Dream to be a good milker. 

If you have a problem goat, give these tips a try. Here's hoping they'll help you to turn your problem goat into a well-behaved milk goat too.

Essential goat milking equipment

Are you wondering what equipment you need to milk goats?

Here are the essentials I have on hand when milking my own goats. This list will get you off to a good start.

Are you having trouble with your goat herd rushing the milk stand and putting your life in peril? They know that's where the grain is! 
In desperation I changed my milking routine and it changed my homesteading life. Here are the three things I changed in my milking routine.
Maybe they'll change your life too.

Are you looking for more goat information? Here are all of my goat posts, plus a set of free printable forms for your herd records.

As a goat lover and a homestead gardener, I'm excited to also share my gardening tips with you - from planting seeds to enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor! You can find my gardening advice and insights right here, so let's dig in and cultivate some fresh, delicious produce together.

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If your goat won't behave on the milk stand, you NEED these 8 tips! You can do it, here's how! #homestead #milkagoat

How to train your goat to behave on the milkstand.

How to train your goat to behave politely on the milkstand.

Related posts:
8 Things You Need to Milk a Goat
How Changing My Milking Routine Changed My Life


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