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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have goats? How about goat experience? We have 30+ and I'm thinking about trying to start milking a couple of them. Any helpful advice, pointers, tips, etc. will be very much appreciated.
By the way, these goats are all rescues, various ages and mixed breeds.

Jihad.
 

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I have had Nubien goats. Milking a goat is different from milking cows. It's best if you find someone who has milk goats who can show you the proper technique.
 

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I don't have goats, but I think they're cool. I worked with a few of them where I used to work. The ones we had were Spike (LaMancha), Mousse (LaMancha/Toggenburg mix), Snickers (Nigerian Dwarf), and Marty (Nubian). My favorites were Spike and Mousse. Good luck with yours.

What are your goat's names?
 

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Thanks for the advice on milking. I've been watching youtube vids and reading different blogs on them.

As for their names: hahaha, we have 35-36 goats, 5 horses and 70+ dogs on the ranch. Plus the cows, rabbits, chickens, etc... There are so many animals coming and going since we are a rescue ranch. It's gotten to the point that every Beagle is 'Sammy', all the blonde Cockers are 'Sarah', etc... We're out of names. lol
No names for the goats as of yet. Once I pick the one or two I'll tame for milking then I probably name those.

Jihad.
 

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Sorry I don't have anything to add along the way of milking. We had four goats as pets when I was a kid/teenager. Two that were Boar/Angora and two (mother/daughter set) Alpine goats. The alpines were best guesses because they came with the ranch when my parents bought it. The Angora/Boar goats we bought from the guy who breed them so we knew what they were. They were a fun bunch and interesting pets. It was like having dogs with horns sometimes as they learned basic commands and followed us all over the ranch. We used them to "mow" places that were hard to get the riding lawn mower.

I wish you luck!
 

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Thanks Charis. I definitley plan on having a few as pets to help keep the grass in my yard in check. My yard is about 1 1/2 acres and I'm trying to 'go green' with as much as I can. Not only will they do well as natural lawn mowers but will fertilize my yard for free too! lol
We had 3 new kids born this past weekend. I had to bottle feed one the first couple days so he is definitely going to be my number one. We're planning on moving him, his mother and maybe one of the other new kids from the ranch area to our private yard area this next weekend. The mom does have milk but the baby was unable to stand to nurse. I'm hoping she'll end up as my milk goat.
 

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If you can milk a cow, you can milk a goat quite easily :p

It's really as simple as grabbing a goat by the upper udder, and pushing the milk downwards, rotate every time, so it's 1st udder, 2nd udder.

(If you ever get yourself into the AZ location, near Phoenix, let me know and I'll show you a proper demonstration!)

At 4H, we had a stand that would fit around their necks PERFECTLY, with their head being a bit to big to fit through, every time they were on it, we'd feed them, grains so they got a major reward, and in doing so will willingly go onto it :)

I do hope this helps!
 

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Thanks DeadIrishD!
My real concern with the goats is trying to separate one from the herd. I want to get one of the fairly new moms and her kid away from the main herd to work with and tame enough to milk. Any advice/experience with that?

I used travel through AZ quite often but it's been years now. Maybe one day.....
 

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As far as the separating if they are fairly wild it will be a challenge! One of the best ways we found was by giving them a highly desirable treat, like bread. You can go to the bakery if you have one and they will sell you old loaves for super cheap. Our place lets you load up the back of a pick-up truck for $5! I would just start walking though the crowd tossing bread bits at first then see if you can get them to come up. Another way is alfalfa cubes or raisins or really anything they love. Just be careful about feeding it to the babies, their stomachs are much more sensitive. Good luck!!
 

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We used sweet feed to lure them around/tame them. We would fill a bucket, shake it and they would come running.

We had to tame two of them (the ones we didn't raise from kids).
What we did:
- Got something visible. A large bucket for the feed and large chunk of alfalfa.
- We would slowly as close as they would let us and throw a bit of feed on the ground with a bit of hay.
- If they wouldn't come any closer we would back away until they would come up to eat.
- Just keep repeating until they are willing to eat from your hand/follow you.

Get a milk stand. It will hold the goat (you can get one their head go through or one we had which you click the halter to with a tehter on each side) at a better height for you and has a spot to hang a pail of sweet feed. It will also make doctoring them and trimming hooves easier too. Make it a pleasant place - like you would a crate with a dog.

When we needed one goat we would call them all into the smallest pasture (the size of a tiny yard) and then catch the goat we wanted. They typically had their "best friend" they would always follow. There was also a "lead" goat that if you could get to go somewhere the others would follow.

In our case:
Amazon was the "lead goat." If she would follow you to the new pasture, go through the gate, into the barn, etc. The others would follow.
Amanda was Amazon "best friend." If either of them went anywhere (separated into a pen) the other would try to follow
Snowflake and Cinnamon were "best friends" and would also try to follow each other anywhere.
If we needed Snowflake it would work to bring her in if we brought in Amazon or Cinnamon. Catching Amanda would only bring in Amazon and not Snowflake.

You will also learn what "baits" what goat against the typically "herd dynamics"
- If there were trees to be eaten - Cinnamon would not follow naturally and he would have to be on a lead (frequently we moved them with grain only and no leads - only do this after they are well tamed) he would not fall in and you would have to physically lead him where he needed to go. He could also climb fences by putting one foot in front of the other and climb bit by bit over a fence.
Snowflake wouldn't come if there was a dog anywhere near where you were going. It didn't matter if it was the sound of a dog it wasn't happening. Her Angora would come out and she would fall over. I'll never have Angora goats again.
Amazon and Amanda typically wanted to go home. If you were trying to move them away from the central pasture/barn and they spotted an open gate - they would run home so fast you couldn't stop them.

When we penned them out in a the yard we used spiral stakes from the farm supply store and tether chains that would spin. If we were going to stay out there with them we just let the roam (again - only after they were tame).

You will get a feel for "herd dynamics" and how best to catch the goat you need.
 

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My neighbour had goats and I used to play with them when I was very young. As previously suggested raisins or bread are some of the few things you can use to seperate the herd. Food as bribe always works :) Good luck!
 

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Thanks DeadIrishD!
My real concern with the goats is trying to separate one from the herd. I want to get one of the fairly new moms and her kid away from the main herd to work with and tame enough to milk. Any advice/experience with that?

.....
I am a city girl, but have a friend who is a goat farmer in the Ozarks. She bottle raises her kids and milks the moms. Her goats all have a good recall, recognize their own names and know the cue to get on the milkstand. She does give them treats on the milk stand for standing still. Thing is - goats are very intelligent. Actually quite dog-leg, and you can train them.
 
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