As I mentioned in the last post about my goats, it was a really steep learning curve for me and the goats while I was figuring out how to milk and they were figuring out how to behave on the milk stand. I finally got the hang of milking after a week or so, but I was having to hold one of the goat's back legs and only milk with one hand. Since no matter how sweetly I asked them or threatened to make sausage out of them they still danced and pranced while they where in the stanchion. The excited children running around and the neighbours' dogs barking at the fence did nothing to help the situation.
So I went to my friend Google and searched "how to stop a goat from kicking" "how to restrain a goat" "goat hobbles" you name it and I looked it up. Basically everything said that the goats would eventually calm down and stand still. A few sites referred to "goat hobbles" These were nylon straps that go above the goats knees and are supposed to prevent the goat from kicking, and they cost $20, plus I had to wait for them to get shipped to me. I kept mulling it over whether or not I should go ahead and buy the things even though I had read in several places that they didn't really work and were a waste of money, I was desperate! After nearly a month we still almost never managed to get any milk for ourselves. The dogs were getting fatter, but I was not about to give my family milk that the goats had stepped in!
One day it occurred to me that I might be able to fashion a hobble of sorts myself. That morning as I led the goats out of their pen onto the milk stand I realized that it might just work using what I already had on hand. A dog leash!! It took a little bit of trial and error, but I finally came up with a way that works for us!
My method of goat restraint should be pretty self explanatory from the pictures above. But just in case you need a written description of what we do, here it is:
- use handle side of nylon dog leash
- place goat's hind feet through handle of leash, bringing loop of handle just above goat's knees
- wrap leash around handle, initially I wrapped it twice to make sure it was tight enough to prevent goat movement, now as long as it is there they don't really try to kick anymore, so I usually only wrap it once.
- wrap long end of leash around far side of stanchion post, hooking leash back on self
- in the last picture Larkspur the goat is actually kicking, and as you can see the milk is perfectly safe!
It only took two times milking with the "hobble leash" and the goats settled right down. The first time they freaked out a bit at having their legs restrained, but within 2 days they stood patiently while I put their feet into the strap and tied them up. No more kicking!! We finally got to drink goat milk ourselves!
Linking up with the Barn Hop this week!