My view from the milk stool is on the things my goats taught me
Patience – you can’t pressure goats to do anything they don’t want to do when they want to do it.
They taught me to be smarter than the goat – if you can out think them, you can win – be forewarned that goats are smarter than you think.
Routine – goats love routine; if you try to do something different than what they’re used to, they rebel.
Goat milk is very useful – you can make excellent cheese from goat milk, but like with working with goats, it takes patience to get it to come out right.
Goats taught me to think quickly on my feet and to have lightening quick reflexes – it’s always better to keep an eye on the rear feet (and sometimes the front) to make sure said foot (or feet) don’t end up in the milk bucket.
Goats taught me not to cry over spilled milk – literally. They also taught me that cheese doesn’t always come out the way it’s supposed to. Oh well, better luck next time.
Goats do not eat tin cans and if you change their diets too quickly, they get diarrhea which is messy to clean up in the barn.
Speaking of manure – it’s always better to let the goats stand in a holding area before they come into the milk parlor with the hope that they’ll pass their stool before they get on the stand.
Goats taught me to remember to put their feed in their pans before they get on the milk stand, otherwise, they may jump off and then you need to run them around the milk parlor to get them to go back up there – I promise! There’s feed in your bin now, get on the damned milk stand and stop tearing up the milk room you crazy goat!
Goats taught me portion control – pay attention to which goat is on the stand and make sure she has enough food in her bin to allow you to finish milking her. Remember – no feed in the bin = a rear foot winding up in preparation to land in the milk bucket which by then is almost full. To feed = no cooperation.
Goats teach you pecking order and that said pecking order can change on a daily basis. It’s always good to allow different members of the herd to be queen goat, at least for a day.
Diary goats teach you responsibility and timeliness. They need to be milked every 12 hours. Granted, this is at the choice of the caregiver, but to keep a dairy animal, you aren’t allowed vacations, days off or sick days. Think of that the next time you buy dairy products.
Things goats didn’t teach me – not much. Goats are the masters of their universe and learning about life by working with goats teaches you to be a much better person.
Until later …