The Goat Whisperer


| 10/5/2011 12:42:19 PM


Tags: goats, homesteading, farming, milk, dairy, Angela Von Weber-Hahnsberg,
If I were a doe, I’d be a great milker. Not because of any physiological similarities, though I did nurse my own kids pretty successfully, but because of my personality. Your ideal doe, who’ll get right up onto the milking stand, hold still the entire time, and dance a little jig of happiness if she gets a treat afterwards – that’s me. Docile, sweet, and compliant. Now that Bonnie’s arrived, though, I’m starting to wonder if that shouldn’t change.

Bonnie is a beautiful, chamoisee Nigerian Dwarf. When we picked her up from the breeder, she was still in milk, having kidded for the first time a couple of months before. I was ecstatic – even though she wasn’t tame by any stretch, and I had never milked a goat before, I was certain that we would be great friends. I envisioned Bonnie standing next to me in an idyllic, flower-speckled meadow, nuzzling me affectionately while I knelt beside her, my expert hands effortlessly coaxing gallons of milk from her udder. 

 The author with her beloved Bonnie

Reality was slightly different. The first time I tried milking her, I couldn’t get a single drop of milk. I panicked – had she dried up on the drive home? Am I hurting her? Is she sick? Was I not destined to be the goat-whisperer after all? I decided to try again the next morning before officially having a break-down.

The next day, full of apprehension, I headed outside again. This time, Bonnie seemed happy to oblige. I could feel my heart swelling with love and pride as she stood perfectly still and let me milk her out. We hadn’t built a milking stand yet, so she stood on an upside-down plastic bin while I sat on a folding chair next to her. Although I only got about two cups of milk out of her, I was enthused. She was the goat of my dreams, after all! I skipped off to email all my friends about my good fortune.

That evening, I returned to Bonnie’s pen, confident now in my superior goat-handling abilities. I helped her up onto the bin, gave her some grain, sat myself down – and was promptly snubbed. Bonnie hopped right off the bin and wandered away. Determining that stronger measures were called for, I put her brand new, pink rhinestone dog collar, which I had been saving for just such an occasion, around her neck, attached a leash, and tied that to a post.  Thus confined, Bonnie stood still – for about five seconds.  Then she threw a fit. Struggling to wriggle her neck free, stomping and kicking, she absolutely refused to stand still, much less let me near her udder.

My husband suggested holding one back leg up, so that she would have to stand still to keep her balance. Well, let me tell you, this goat could win the Olympic balance beam competition hands down, because she was remarkably agile without that leg! Her aim was impeccable, as well – every chance she got, she stomped her free hoof right into the bucket.With one hand on her leg and the other desperately trying to milk her, there wasn’t much I could do to defend the bucket, and so I moved on to my next tactic: snuggling.


mountainmomma mackenzie
10/31/2011 3:04:23 AM

LOL when you figure out how to milk bonnie, pleasssssssssse let me know... have one my own that does that same, and i cannot get any milk from. its frustrating..




dairy goat

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