Training a Dairy Goat

February 3, 2012 · 5 comments

This is Minnie. She’s going to be my milker this coming spring/summer/fall. At this point, she’s not particularly friendly and doesn’t like being handled at all. That’s something that needs to change in the next couple months.

Today, I got her out of the barn and into the milking stanchion. With her head locked in place, I was able to brush her and pick up her feet without too much resistance. The more she is touched and handled now, the easier it will be at milking time to keep her calm enough to get the goods without traumatizing everyone. I really should be working with her everyday, but life is complicated, and I don’t get to it as often as I should.

I took Minnie to get bred in early November, so she’s three months into a five-month gestation. For a while, I wasn’t quite sure if she was actually pregnant, but she never came into heat after her visit with the buck, and now she’s starting to look slightly enlarged around the middle. It always seems like my goats don’t start to “show” much until the last month or so before kidding. I’ll have to take another profile photo of her just before her due date for comparison.

Minnie has a little scur on her head from an imperfect disbudding procedure. So far it hasn’t caused any problems, but supposedly, the tip of a scur can start growing back into a goat’s head, and that’s not good. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

Like horses and sheep, goats need their hooves trimmed occasionally, too. It looks like this girl is due for a manicure. I’ll have to call my farrier¬†soon (haha).

Brushing a goat definitely brings out a lot of dandruff. During milking season, I try to brush regularly enough that the dandruff isn’t so dense, and I won’t get any (or very much) in my milk bucket. (I also love a good goat belly cowlick.)

In my limited experience with goats, it seems like after a goat kids for the first time, she also will majorly mellow out, so I’m not too stressed out about needing a perfectly tame goat right away. My girl Bella that I milked for four seasons was super skittish before she kidded the first time, but immediately after she seemed to decide that I wasn’t all that bad, and she let me handle her without too much trouble. Now Bella will come right up to me anytime I’m in the barn or goat yard, and she seems to enjoy a good brushing anytime I’m willing. I’m hoping Minnie comes to the same conclusions though I know I also have to put in the time and effort to make her feel safe and comfortable around me. This great weather that we’re having in Oregon will certainly help me stay motivated to go outside and spend some time with my goats.

(Okay, I’ll stop bragging about the sun now and go for a hike with my dog.) Have a great weekend, everyone!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Daedre Craig February 4, 2012 at 7:17 am

Ooh how exciting! I’m hoping to get goats soon, but I have to get it legalized in my city first.

Have you tried feeding her while she’s on the milking stanchion?


Camille February 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm

When I’m milking, I always feed in the stanchion, but in this case, I had already fed Minnie, so I didn’t offer her any more.


catie February 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

“goat belly cowlick” ~ maybe that could be a poem or the name of a band {or an etsy shop} : )


Heather G April 22, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I have a Nubian doe that also has dandruff. She gets a balanced goat grain and a small scoop of sunflower seeds 2x a day. I am not 100% sure if she has lice. I think she could use a bath this summer. I am not sure what lice conditioner to use on her. Any suggestions? You mentioned regular brushing. Does this help cure the dandruff?
I am a new goat owner and would love some advice. Thanks!


Camille April 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm

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