Monday, February 8, 2010

Milk Stand Built With New Fresheners In Mind

I can just hear my daughter scolding me for being so windy on the last blog. This one will be short and sweet, okay Toni? Though you may notice that I blogged twice on Monday. It's to cover Monday and Tuesday. My son-in-law is coming over in the morning after a twelve hour graveyard shift and an unusual coincidence is that my husband has to pull graveyards this week also. What that means is that I won't have access to the computer until nighttime so the blogs will be coming at strange hours.
To create a short blog I thought I'd show you our milking stand that my husband built many moons ago instead of carrying on about chickens which is apt to drone on and on. I'll do that tomorrow night after I've had some sleep. M... just read the first sentence again. Don't want you to think my husband built the stand in the dark. No, I just thought it sounded cool to say, many moons ago. Do they still say 'cool'? On second thought, many moons was the western Indian way to denote distance not time. Like in the town Tensleep, Wyoming which was named because it took the Indians tens sleeps to get there. I just can never remember where they started from. It is so hard to focus when it is so late. How does anyone do graveyards?
Anyway, I was talking about the wonderful milk stand my husband built. It is very heavy which isn't bad since it doesn't shift when two ton tessy jumps on it. No, not me, Pudge. We named our Saanen/Boer cross that because she's looked chunky and round ever since see was a few days old. Now people mistake her for being pregnant with twins all eight months of the year. The rest of the time they think she's carrying triplets or quads.
Sorry, we were talking about the milking stand. My husband is a welder by trade and so his choice of materials was naturally scrap metal. Not a bad idea as it has lasted for a very long time.

The solid side on the left is really handy when your training first year milkers. It gives them something secure to lean against and their not afraid of falling off. When you have a restless newcomer to milk, you are on one side and the side frame on the other to help keep the unsettle goat in the middle. Chicory here on the stand was just such a doe and when she first arrived at our pens last spring after freshening for the first time, the stand kept her from wrenching her neck more than once as she tried to step off to one side as I was milking her. It was obvious she hadn't spent much time in a stand before arriving.
When we raise a kid from our own herd, they start when they are six to eight months old at the latest jumping on to the stand to receive grain. With them up there, I handle them all over including their udder. By the time they freshen, it is old hat to be on the milking stand, and then extracting milk from their udder is a small step forward.
Since Chicory wasn't raised by us, I had to spend two weeks lifting the big lug's front legs on to the stand and then gently pushing on her hind quarters to encourage her to jump. Often, she tried to jump right back off and because of the side rail I could pin her in place long enough to lock her head in without her falling off.
It wasn't but a month later that I quit locking her head in for she is less concerned with me than she is in consuming all the grain she can. Today, I gave her the pig ration I mix up as I've found the goats jump on the stand more enthusiastically when I change up once in a while what's in the bowl. I can't imagine eating the same thing day after day and I've found goats like edible surprises too. I've had a few who didn't but they were the exception.

After I took this photo, I thought boy I should have swept. It seems like I do and it is immediately dirty again, especially when the light snow helps the dirt stick to the girl's hooves, not to mention the cat's paws. This is Cinders. She is going to be five this summer and a good mouser and a wonderful female. In other words, she does her job catching mice without having more than a couple kittens each year. While some others I could name throw themselves at every new male that they chance to meet.
One more thing you might think about, I try to keep everything positive about the milking stand. That's why I trim hooves with the goats tied to the fence. Chicory doesn't mind her feet trimmed but my two Saanens aren't as complacent about it. Not to give you the impression they are bad just that they won't come in to be milked if I use the stand to secure them to trim their hooves.
I'll blog on feet trimming the next time I trim if I can rally Kirk to take pictures. He wasn't available the last time. Well, so much for a short blog.

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