With both of our yearling does now in milk, and with each needing to supply milk for only a single kid, we began setting up to resume regular milkings. Last week, Mrs Yeoman Farmer and I moved some straw bales and rolls of fencing materials, and then brought both our milking stanchions into the barn from the garage. We covered them with tarps, to make sure the chickens didn't roost on them and foul them up. Then, with me back today from a weekend-long retreat, MYF decided that today was the day to start milking.
MYF spent quite a bit of time this morning preparing for the big event. She dug out the nice stainless steel milking pail (with lid), washed it, and soaked it in an acid wash solution. She cleared and scrubbed a designated counter space in the kitchen, and set all the milking supplies up on it. By the time I came in for lunch, we were ready to roll.
I helped get the first doe out of the makeshift kidding pen, and together we led her to the stanchion. It was a struggle getting her in, but the grain served as an effective enticement. As MYF washed the goat's udder and then settled in to milk, I went off to gather eggs.
When I returned, less than five minutes later, MYF was already nearly finished --- but we weren't going to be enjoying any milk anytime soon. The goat had smashed her foot into the milking pail, easily knocking off the half-lid. Frustrating, but it happens. We set the pail down, and Scooter the Amazing Sheepherding Wizard Wonderdog polished all the milk off by the time we got Doe #2 into the stanchion. She was just as much of a kicker, (and given Doe #1's filthy feet, we couldn't have used Doe #2's milk anyhow unless we washed and sanitized the pail...something we had no time for). Again, Scooter got to feast as we led Doe #2 back to the pen.
Suddenly, an obvious point occurred to me, which I mentioned to MYF: This is the first time we've tried to milk a goat for the first time. Both of our other milking does had been milked by their previous owners, and had been comfortable with the routine. It simply didn't occur to us to expect different behavior from these two. One of those things that's obvious in retrospect, but didn't cross our minds beforehand.
I thanked MYF for "giving it the old college try there, Goat Girl." And hopefully tomorrow we'll be better able to anticipate (and redirect) the does' kicks. If not...at least Scooter will be pleased.