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January 15, 2018

Training Your Goat to the Milkstand


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.

Several years ago we bought our first two 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 definitely 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.

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

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I asked a 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. Dream and I eventually came to an understanding, and these tips contributed to that compromise.

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.

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

How to Train a Goat to the Milkstand

1. 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 upset when the goat sticks a hoof in the bucket, or dumps it all over the milkstand. And all over you. Really, it will.

2. Use a deep 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.

3. Have a second stockpot or milk bucket. Pour the "good milk" into it every so often. When the doe 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.

4. Attitude is important - YOUR attitude. Assume that today the doe is going to be well-behaved. Relax. Be patient.

5. Always do things in the same order, every day. You are in the business of training animals.

6. Get your doe 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 milkstand meant goodies!

7. Measure your goat's feed before bringing her to the milkstand. Hopefully she already knows to jump on the stand to be fed. Have everything ready before you start. Lock up the cats or the puppies or anything else that will be distracting to her or to you.

Ok... now you're ready. Use a washcloth or paper towel to clean the udder and teats - I used squares of soft flannel cut from my husband's cast-off flannel shirts. I used the udder wash recipe at http://fiascofarm.com/goats/teatdip-udderwash.html, substituting white vinegar for the bleach. Dry the udder with another paper towel or cloth. Direct the first couple of squirts of milk into a strip cup (I used a plastic margarine tub), then milk into the bucket. After milking, dip the doe's teats in the same udder wash recipe as above, in a different container of course.

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.

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.
Maybe they'll change your life too!


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 doe, give this a try. Here's hoping that these tips will help you to train a good milk goat too.

How to teach your goat to the milkstand; tips for training a problem doe.


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


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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