Milk Stand Training- Kid Edition

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On our farm, all the animals, including the bucks, are exposed at an early age to being on the milk stand.  Particularly with bucks, this makes it so much easier for handling when they are mature and weigh a lot more than I can lift. Life is great if they just hop on the stand! In addition, milk stands also make life a whole lot easier for shots, trimming hooves, clipping, and pretty much any kind of general maintenance.  It's also no secret that one of the biggest hurdles of milking does is getting them used to being milked and a lot of that difficulty lies in the goats being comfortable on the milk stand. By the time a doe kids on our farm, she is well versed in milk stand protocol.  

Our milk stand are situated in the main area of the barn so quickly become a climbing toy for our babies when they are let out of their pens.  Then as they age, their general maintenance is done on the stand, from hoof trimming to clipping to taking temperatures.  When we are working with them, they are guided into the head sanction area and locked in.  We always make sure to have feed for them on the stand too and pretty rapidly, they discover that not only is the stand fun to jump up on, but it also is a place for food.  

Our babies are added to the main milker pen in mid October of every year to make sure everyone is well adjusted before they are heavily pregnant with kids.  At this point the kids still are being fed grain twice a day.  Since it would be bedlam to feed our whole herd  in the pen, the babies' grain feeding transitions from their pen to on the milk stands.  They are pulled out individually with the milkers and put on the stands with their feed.  They learn how to behave on our multi-goat milk stand, particularly with goats on both sides and become comfortable with our milking routine.  By the time they are switched to a just hay diet (our dry does only get hay), the routine is well ingrained in their system.  

A month before their due date, our girls gradually start getting grain again on the stand.  This is a refresher for all, including any first fresheners for the year.  By the time they kid, they know what is expected and are typically comfortable enough on the stand that milking is not a big adjustment.