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Where To Put Your Goat’s Pen, and Milking Station Tips

>2 June 2011
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So, we’ve made yet another frustrating mistake. We put the goat’s pen in a bad spot. Sure, it looked perfect when we chose to fence in that particular piece of the property. But after some time actually using it, we’ve realized it wasn’t such a great idea after all.

The mistake? Well, it’s at the bottom of the slope of the yard, in the woods. Meaning, this is where all of the rain water runs off to, and it doesn’t dry out very quickly ’cause the trees keep it shaded.

It didn’t take very long after several really good storms back to back for the goat’s pen to become a sopping muddy, poopy nightmare. Let me tell you, it was disgusting. Walking through that mess to get to the milking stand was awful, and I felt terribly bad for the goats. I especially worried about their hooves. Goats will get hoof rot very quickly if they are kept in a muddy area.

As much as it hurt us to admit it (especially Jerry, who had spent days putting up the fence!), we had to move the pen somewhere else. After some debating, we agreed upon a high spot behind the house, next to Jerry’s workshop. I’m thinking it will stay pretty dry up there. And we’ll be able to build the milking station off of the side of the workshop.

Speaking of the milking station, there are a few specifics I’m requesting for my new milking area. Things I’ve learned are necessary as I’ve struggled to deal without them.

First, let me tell you, if you are going to have a milk goat, you NEED a milk stand. Well, unless you have a super tame doe that will just stand there and let you milk to your heart’s content.

I don’t have a goat like that. Mine likes to move, and she kicks when she’s out of food. I have to have a good way to keep her still.

Since Jerry has moved the goats, we have yet to bring their milk stand with them. Right now, it’s still under the shelter in their former pen. So, I’ve been tying the goats to a tree with a feed bucket in front of them, and sitting on the ground to milk. And every time the goat moves over a little, I have to scoot closer. Which takes time. Which means the goat runs out of food before I’m done. And then she’s kicking while I attempt to finish milking her as fast as I can without her kicking over the milk bowl.

Are you picturing this? Not an easy task.

I’ll be glad when I have my milk stand back in commission again!!

The other trouble, keeping the other goats away while you milk. They will absolutely bum rush the feed bowl and you’ll have all of your goats fighting for the grain while you are trying to milk the doe. It’s nearly impossible to do.

Oh yeah, and you definitely want to fence off your milking area to keep the goats off the stand when it’s not in use. Otherwise, they will play on it, and poop all over it, and then it’s nasty.

In my perfect little world, this is how I picture my new milking station:

  • The milking stand will be under a shelter to keep me and the girls out of the rain.
  • It will be fenced in, with a latching gate. This will keep the goats separated when I milk, and keep the stand clean.
  • I’d have a shelf on the wall to hold my supplies.
  • We’ll cover the floor of the milking stand with some scrap linoleum flooring so it’s easy to wipe off when milk spills.
  • The trash can of feed will be in the milking area, easily accessible.
  • I’ll have a flood light hooked up so I can see when I milk at night.

Ah, that will be nice.

The girls are happier now in their dry pen. We’ve separated the buck from the does. Although he’s still very small, he’s 3 months old now and able to mate. And we don’t want him impregnating his sister who is still too young to birth. I think we’ve decided to sell him. I’ll share more on that later though.

All you experienced goat owners, see anything you can add? I’m sure there will be more things we’ll have to change as we go.

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4 Comments »

  • Rebecca said:

    Thanks for the additional pointers on milk goats. We would like to eventually add milk goats to our homestead, and until then I’m trying to soak up all the tips I can from other goat owners.

  • Michelle said:

    We milk in the shed…Do you guys have a shed? That is hwere the stand is set up so when we let them out, they know where to run..Before we placed the stand in the shed, we had it on the back deck.

  • Denise said:

    I am really enjoying your blog.

    We too have made many goat “mistakes”.

    I like your new idea– but I would personally opt for a cement floor…so it lasts longer and can still be washed off.

    Sounds great!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Denise,

    Yeah, a cement floor would be really great. One day as money permits, I guess ;)

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