Friday, August 21, 2009

Down on the farm

yesterday I spent a few hours at Kate's farm. I got to milk four goats using a milking machine then I finished them by hand. The milking machine was a bit loud but that did not seem to bother the goats. Once you let one of the goats out of the pen, they go running right for the milking table. They jump up and put their head right into the feed bucket. Then we secure their head into the front of the milk stand. The goats are too distracted to notice.

First, I washed their udders and check them for any ticks, scratches, or bumps. Then I turn on the machine and wait until you hear the click of suction and attached the tubes to the udders. While the machine works, I massage their udders. Once the flow has ebbed, I turn off the machine then remove the tubes. You can usually get more milk, so I got to practice my hand milking.

I milked into a bowl but seemed to get most of it down my arms and on my glasses. I have gotten much better at hand milking. Kate left me alone down on the farm while she ran an errand. I was left with the task of putting a goat back into the pen and bringing out another goat. I got the first got in but then two more came out. Meanwhile, my bowl of milk was left unattended and the momma cat claimed it for herself. All the milk I managed to get by hand went to the cat and her nine week old kittens. This simple act seemed to inspire all the kittens to nurse their mother.

Eventually I was able to get all the goats back in the pen and was able to get the goat I needed out. The last goat to milk was the biggest, she is the only Alpine goat on the farm. When I first let her out, she went right into the barn and got into some feed. Once I put more food in the milk table's feed bucket, I had her attention and she knew where to go.

Soon it will be breeding season and Magic the billy will be able to do his thing. He is a cool looking goat that has a mohawk going down his back. But he is stubborn and would let he get a decent picture from the right angle to highlight his mohawk. But we will meet again and I am excited to see some new born baby goats.

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