The Goat Whisperer(2)

| 10/10/2011 12:29:58 PM

Tags: goats, homesteading, farming, milk, dairy, Angela Von Weber-Hahnsberg, 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. 

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