Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Gotta keep 'em separated

Have you heard that song?  I think it was by Offspring? Ah, my fun alternative "grunge" stage. My poor parents.

Anyhow, last night I put Millie into a dog crate inside the goat shelter. I have been getting 1/4 cup or less each time, and the no kicking was a fluke, if you remember my last post about that. Aurora is not a fan of being milked. I kept getting advice to separate mom and baby at night and milk in the morning. I finally sucked it up and did it. 

So this morning, I grab all the supplies and head out. I decided to bring an extra bowl, and a jar with a lid to try to save some of the milk when she kicks the bowl.  I should have gotten about 5 extra wipes, as well. 

Aurora used to hate getting on the stand, but now hops up eagerly and puts her head in the catch. Good goat, things are starting off well. I empty her food into her bowl and she eats like she hasn't had food in weeks. In reality, it has been 12 hours and she has unlimited access to Alfalfa hay. 

Time to get to work. There is no comfortable position to do this in, I have come to realize. At least not when you have to push yourself against the side of the goat to keep her still, while holding one of her legs and the bowl in one hand, and reaching past your arm to milk with the other hand. I am right handed, so I think I need to adjust how I have our stand situated. 

In several books I have read, they talked about "milking routines". Many people will play music, hum, or sing to keep their goats calm. After she kicked the bowl a few times, I started singing. It definitely calmed her down (and made Millie stop calling for mama) so I kept going. You're dying to know my song selections, I just know it. So here they are:

Hush little baby
Twinkle twinkle little star
Old McDonald had a farm
John brown had a little Indian
Rock a bye baby
And any other nursery rhyme I could remember

After I had repeated each of these a thousand times, I began making up my own songs. I should start recording myself because I'm kind of a musical genius. 

When I stopped singing and focused too much on milking, she would remind me by kicking the bowl to the ground. Sometimes I got her so relaxed she pooped. Thankfully I am aware of the signs and removed the bowl as soon as I saw her tail go up. Three times she pooped!  This is why I wish I had brought more wipes. I kept knocking the poo off the stand with a wipe, and when she kicked me she would get mud on my hand and arm, so I needed to clean myself. Next time!  Live and learn. 

There were times when things would go really great and I would try not to think about how great it was, or adjust myself in any way, hand cramp be darned, incase it reminded her that she should be fighting me. During those times I felt like this awesome farm girl, milking and singing out in the pasture on a sunny morning. Ahhhh. Just as I start to feel confident she kicks me. Thanks for keeping me humble, Aurora. 

After 40 minutes of this, my back and hands could take no more. I released her, then released Millie and watched as she effortlessly finished milking Aurora. I thanked them both, and took my milk inside where I filtered it 4 times, once with a coffee filter added in for good measure. It wasn't dirty, but it did have hair in it and who knows what else so I felt better filtering it repeatedly. I put it in the freezer so it could cool quickly, then placed it into the back of my fridge. 

We ended up with 2.5 cups of milk before filtering, and about 2.25 after filtering. My daughters were so excited to see so much milk after my previous attempts that they all congratulated and praised me, so it's worth it. 

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