Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

A Milk Machine.

Posted on | May 1, 2011 | 1 Comment

Despite her impressive lineage and a beautiful udder, Magenta is not producing much milk.  I was a bit concerned when I saw her kicking her babies away whenever they tried to nurse.  I was really concerned when the kids started suckling any part of exposed human skin when we went into the kidding barn to visit them.  And although they appeared to be growing and vigorous, they were gobbling grain when they were only a week old.  As if it was the only thing they got to eat.

I usually start milking 3 weeks after kids are born.  I think it gives the mom and babies some good bonding time before I start separating them at night so I can milk in the morning.  But at the 2 week mark I put Magenta on the stand.  My plan was to milk her out and then give a bottle to the smallest of her triplets, if not all three of them.

Imagine my surprise when her firm, full looking udder was almost empty.  She didn’t have any signs of mastitis, just no milk.  I examined her teats for cracks or tenderness.  I checked her orifices for blockages.  I massaged her udder and talked soothingly to encourage her milk let down.  I topped off her grain with a bit of scratch.  I milked and milked and milked until I had a whopping 1 ounce of milk in the bucket.  And the whole time, I was fending off 3 starving babies with my feet, elbows, and knees to get the job done.

She kicked, stepped off the side of the stand, and pulled her head in the stanchion until she choked.

But the only way to stimulate milk production is to either milk frequently or let babies nurse frequently.  Since she wouldn’t allow nursing, that meant it was up to me.  For several days I punished us with this unsuccessful process.  It was exhausting.  Frustrating……..STUPID!

The babies needed milk.  Magenta needed milking.  What I really needed was a milking machine.  A free one.  Which I just happened to have.

Voila!

Babies fed milk.  Check!  Magenta’s udder stimulated.  Check!  Me off busy doing other farm chores instead of torturing myself (and Magenta) at the milk stand.  Check!

I love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?

Comments

One Response to “A Milk Machine.”

  1. Annabelle
    May 2nd, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    yup, love it when we figure out how to make them work! what DO other people do with their time? They don’t look around and see two men visiting the farm with their families and ask them to hold down a strong buckling to be banded?

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