Milk Goats in Training

There are many benefits to keeping milk goats, but a difficult goat can make milking hard for both owner and animal. Learn how to easily train your milk goats by building trust from the beginning.

| July/August 2018

When we obtained our first dairy goats, it was thanks to my sister. As young children, she and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with our small herd of brush goats, which were mostly of Spanish and Kiko descent. This slightly wild and very colorful group gave us a love of goats that's persisted for many years.

No doubt about it, dairy goats bring more than delicious milk to the homestead. They also add plenty of character to the barnyard, and it stands to reason that a bit of that aforementioned character naturally shows up when it's time to embark upon their education.

I'm going to share with you our goat training process, which is simple yet effective. I'll also discuss the basics of nurturing a baby doeling to well-behaved adulthood, as well as important considerations for buying a doe that's already milking.

How to win the goat rodeo

When a goat kids and freshens for the first time, she's surrounded by new things and experiences, and a little anxiety on her part is understandable. When she's ready to be milked for the first time, she may respond with absolute refusal. If you attempt to duke it out with her, this only strengthens her desire to resist and it may end with injury to you or her. So, it's best to have someone strong with you when you're milking a first-timer.

I encourage you to have your milking setup ready and waiting, making room for a milking stand with a stanchion to hold her securely. In time, this will become a comfortable place for her while she's being milked, and it's a safe way to begin her training.

When she's in the stanchion with feed in front of her, have your helper firmly hold her back legs to restrict her movement. No matter what happens when you start milking, just keep going until you're done. She may lunge, stamp, kick, holler, or lie down. Just keep milking as calmly and rhythmically as possible. Speak softly and soothingly to her; sometimes I sing while milking. As you treat her fairly and firmly, you're encouraging trust and safety. Be sure to reward her with some loving attention.

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