DIY Milking Stand

DIY Milking Stand

When we finally decided to breed the goats, it became necessary to build a milking stand to get the girls used to standing and eating on it.

This will be a test run on milking, so I didn’t want to spend much money on the materials, and we are avoiding leaving the farm if necessary, I searched the shed and took stock of the scrap wood we had. Turns out we are hoarders when it comes to wood, so the whole stand was made from left over materials. 

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It was slighting overcast, so kids and I loaded up their wagon with scrap wood, and brought it all up to the front porch in case of rain. I have “overly helpful” tiny people who had to help, so I sent them inside to play while I cut all the pieces, then allowed them back out to help assemble the stand.

img_7899First up was the base for the flooring. Make sure your corners are square, also using straight boards is great, mine were not, but they were free. The base measures about 23″ by 36″

For the flooring, I used left over cedar fence picketing, which is very flimsy, so I added a middle support. If you used thicker flooring, this might be unnecessary, but it wouldn’t hurt.

img_7900 Next, we added the 17″ legs, they are tall because our goats are short. The 4×4 legs are a bit overkill for the size of our goats and could be replaced with 2x4s. I used the 4x4s because we had a ton left over from our fence cluttering up our shed.

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Next came the flooring. I saw many people online use siding, or plywood. I almost used left over siding from a chicken coop, the only reason I chose the cedar fence pickets was that the siding was big enough pieces and was worth saving, the cedar pickets were just taking up space in the shed.

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I saw a few different ways to make the head trapper, I honestly don’t know the official name. I chose to use this method because it seemed to require less cutting and screws, but also I can always make it taller for standard size goats if I ever need. The vertical supports are 36″ 2x4s.

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Next I added the bottom support flush with the bottom of the vertical supports. The middle supports are positioned 17.25″ up from the bottom of the vertical 2x4s. The bottom support will have to be removed to add the neck pieces, but I went ahead and screwed it in to double check position.

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The neck pieces slide in between the horizontal supports. The oval for the neck starts at 17.5″ from bottom of 2x4s and measures 10.25″ tall and 3.5″ wide. Also the bottom (not visible) of the movable neck piece is angled 45 degrees and secured using a single screw to allow it to move. The stationary neck piece is secured using 2 screws.

The food bowl is attached to the horizontal supports.

Its hard to tell in the photo, but I forgot we had a jig saw and messed up the neck oval. Once I remembered/found the jig saw, it made life easier, but the damage had been done.  Instead of fixing it right now, I decided to just wrap the opening with an old fleece blanket. Our girls have never used a stand before and the extra cushion was probably a good thing.

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Please note that all measurements are based on Nigerian Dwarf goats and would need to be adjusted for standard size goats.

Altogether it took us about 3 hours to build the stand.

Tools:

  • Miter saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Drill
  • 2 1/2″ screws

Cut List:

Legs: (4) 4x4s or 2x4s – 17″

Long Side: (2) 2x4s – 36″

Short Sides: (3) 2x4s – 20″

Floor: (4) cedar fencing – 36″

Vertical supports: (2) 2x4s – 36″

 Horizontal supports: (3) 2x4s – 23″

Head pieces: (2) 2x4s – 36″ – One cut at 45 degrees at bottom

If you do buy the lumber, you can get away with (4) 2″x4″x8′ boards and (1) 4″x4″x6′ board, plus (2) 6′ cedar picket fence boards. Which, based on current prices, will run you about $30. Goat Milking Stand cut list

Venturing into Goat Breeding

When we first purchased our goats, the intention had been to breed them and milk them.  By the time they were old/big enough to breed, they would have been due to kid the same time Vivienne would be born. I was not prepared for that so we put it off, and put it off, and put it off. Then earlier this year we finally decided that we would plan to breed the girls this fall and have them kid next spring. But it was not a firm decision, and we kept wavering.

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Then Covid-19 hit and our plans changed. Milk became hard to find, and as I stood in the kitchen wondering if the store had milk or not, I watched our freeloading DAIRY goats play. Why on earth did I have dairy goats and no milk?!

So now my decision to breed the goats was firm and more immediate. Vince was still wavering.

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First we had to rehome the two goats we had acquired last summer. They were very sweet girls, but they had horn issues and quite frankly I didn’t want to breed them. Within hours they were off to their new home, with a man who was prepared to deal with the horn issues.

Then I began my search for a male. It was harder than I thought, and I widened my search to find an already bred female. I was getting desperate for milk.

I finally found the perfect male. He was close, cheap and super cute. Vince agreed and I dragged his allergy miserable self to get the goat. Since I am pregnant enough to not be able to catch a skittish goat, Vince caught the goat and we were on our way.

Now here is the funny part, and I only tell this because its just our luck and neither of us is blaming the other, he turned out to be a she… yeah.

I never got close to the goat till we were home, and by then I was trying to give it space so it would calm down. Vince had never thought to check whether the goat was male or female because he assumed I had things under control and he was just plain miserable trying to hold a skittish goat.

Vince wanted to give up and move to Maine. I instead started looking for a new male.

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At this point the virus is causing more and more places to issue shelter in place orders and I wanted a male on our property when/if that happened. I also wanted to persuade Vince to keep the new female who was very cute and starting to calm down.

I searched every goat group Facebook page within drivable distance, all the bucks I found were either sold or more than I wanted to spend. I messaged seller after seller with no luck. Just as I had given up hope, I woke up to a response. The buck I asked about was sold, but she had one left and she attached a photo. I saw the photo and fell in love, he was the cutest buck I had seen in all my searching. I asked age and price, assuming he would be another dead end due to price. She quickly responded and I was sold.

Now to sell Vince on the idea. I waited patiently for him to wake up, I wanted him well rested and in a good mood. Allergy season is in full force so persuading him to get another goat after the he/she incident when he is already miserable was going to take some work. While he was not thrilled by the idea, he agreed, on the terms that if this one was a girl, we were done.

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It was a bit of the drive to get this little boy, and I’m fairly certain Vince was regretting that he let me do this, but baby goats make things better. Especially cute baby goats with the correct genitalia.

So now we just have to wait and hopefully we will have several baby goats to play with this fall.

Elle