for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Happy new year, goat friends! I have a question about one of my milkers. I'm not sure if I should be concerned, or up my patience/stubborn game.
I have a VERY ornery doe. She came to me (unexpectedly) as a first freshener three summers back. I had zero goat experience, so you can imagine our first summer of milking... It's MUCH improved -we had a great summer- but she's still prone to strong opinions on the milking stand here and there, especially when she's in heat. Luckily, she had a doeling last spring so I had a little help on the milking end this summer...
About two weeks ago she came into heat and, per usual, decided she was NOT going to tolerate being milked. When she gets like this, she's very dramatic and trembles like she's terrified. I try to show nothing but patient loving kindness (learned that lesson the hard way) and will quietly hold one leg while I hand milk one side at a time. She'll do handstands and squats the whole time. Loads of fun. I bred her and expected her to quiet down, but her terrible milking stand behavior has continued. She doesn't want to get on the stand, isn't interested in her breakfast, and acts like she's being horribly abused. I started to wonder if she's in pain (mastitis?) but she shows no signs of issues (strip cup-wise) and her kid continues to nurse as usual.
Does this sound like a red flag or simply an extra goat-y goat? Her behavior has coincided with temperature drops into the single digits for a week+ now so I wondered if that could be related. Has anyone had a goat act this ornery and inconsistent? Anyone had a doe protest more in the cold weather?? All opinions and thoughts welcome!
Is she nursing a kid? Do you dam raise? If yes, when do you start milking?
She has a 7 month old doeling still nursing- yes. I started separating them overnight (along with a buckling she had) at about 4 weeks old (later than I intended!) which was early July. She milked out very agreeably each morning through the summer and fall, aside from a few days of heat here and there. The recent orneriness kicked in with her last heat but didn't subside. The only differences in her world that I know of were: I bred her and the temps dropped into the single digits.
On our coldest day, our doe stamped her feet while being milked--several stamps in a row, one foot at a time. She stayed pretty much in the same place while doing this, though.
It sounds hormonal -- not in an abnormal way. Some goats are just like that when they're nursing kids. I don't know why she suddenly changed, but I don't think there's anything wrong with her. We had a couple of goats like that years ago, and if we started milking them the day they kidded, they were fine, but we seriously could not skip days. We didn't even need to separate the kids (which you should not do anyway until they're older if they're nursing 2 or more). We just needed to put her on the milk stand and milk her every day so that she understood that we had the same privileges as the kids did.
Thanks for that. I've heard it recommended before to start nursing right at day one and I think I need to get on that consistency bandwagon! She's a tough doe and the opposite of easy-going so... strategy in place for next year. Thanks!