Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How I stop goats from kicking while on the milk stand

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!


  1. I have hooks on either side of the stand, and use leashes to wrap around each leg tightly. Mine is a terrible kicker!

  2. Awesome idea! Our milk goat is a first time milking and so am I. We've had a heck of a learning curve but we're making progress. I'm going to have to try this because right now I'm milking one handed and holding the bowl of milk with the other hand!

  3. Love this idea, we have a horrible kicker and have tried several different ways but this just might work. thanks for the post and pic's

  4. I came across your blog when at my wits end with one of my girls. The combination of your idea of using a dog leash and some advice from a friend saved my sanity!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

    1. So glad it helped! I understand, I was practically in tears some days trying to milk one handed and still not get any milk worth drinking. Goats are actually really pleasant animals to have around once the figure out how they should be acting!

  5. I tried this today on my new Saanan/Oberhasli (well, a variation of this, since I didn't have a dog leash to use), and it worked really well. Thanks for posting this!

  6. I am about to try this out on our new goat, as first time goat owners, in the hopes that it helps to convince her to hold still and that we aren't trying to kill her. Thanks for this. I didn't want to spend $20 on a goat hobble...or continue to keep getting kicked while I waited for it to ship! Great, useful blog.

  7. What a great idea! I am going to try this tomorrow. My lamancha is the queen of the farm and we have been battling it out all week. Hopefully this will help.

  8. Thank you, thank you. I have looked at hobbles but now that my formerly well behaved goat has decided that it is more fun to kick (basically she eats really fast and gobbles up her food faster than I can milk her to try to ploy for double feeding) I really have to do something about it.
    I have plenty of leashes, since I have three dogs, so definitely have the material to do it myself.

  9. Boy I had built my own milkstand out of oak pallats and installed hobbles on either side. They still kicked. I even had two bottle raised sisters who even tied, scared me as they would scream and throw themselves down on the stand . scary because these are 200 lb girls and I wax afraid they would break their necks or legs. I had the neighbor boys come over and each hold a leg. Big full grown teen boys. And it was a struggle for them. Finally after a couple of YEARS Piggy and Petunia are much better on the stand alone.

  10. Brilliant. I am desperate, and will try this asap. Thanks for publishing this.


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