Adventures in Goat Milking

One woman's experience with teaching a goat to gracefully accept milking as a part of every day life.

| September/October 1976

Glamorous Greta is a goat. She has languid brown eyes, two-inch-long eyelashes, and droopy, white-tipped ears that frame her face like Cleopatra's hairdo.

Greta is an aristocrat by birth. Her family background is far better than ours and she never misses an opportunity to remind us of the fact. She never begs to be petted ... she allows us to rub her head. When we call, she never comes running up the hill with the rest of the goats ... she ambles our way leisurely, as if by accident.

We bought Greta at our price—by default—because her dam was bred out of season. That made her an "only" kid and people who raise large herds of goats don't like to make all those long trips out to the barn just to feed one kid. But we didn't mind. We enjoyed the trips to the barn because we knew that each one took us just a little closer to the time when Greta would repay us with rich Nubian milk.

And she does. Greta now manufactures copious amounts of creamy milk. But she doesn't "give" it. Greta doesn't "give" anybody anything. She manufactures milk and the rest is up to you. If you want it, you must take it by force.

For despite her regal bloodlines and her aloof manner, Greta has one small flaw that makes milking her a twice-a-day struggle. Certain parts of her body are ticklish. Incredibly, ridiculously ticklish.

Greta will stand quietly with her Roman nose in the air and allow you to rub her ears. She'll even stretch in ecstasy as we scratch her neck. And she loves to have her back brushed. But one touch of the human hand anywhere on the underside of her body and she's off in kicking, yelping hysterics.

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