How to milk a goat without
tears! Here are some simple techniques to successful goat milking that
can easily be learned.
I have been asked many times how you get milk from barn to table. It's
pretty easy, and it's a learning experience.
Milking Goats and What is Important to Me
1) I want a
goat I don't have to chase down and catch 2 times a day. You have to
milk every 12 hours, you may as well be spending that time with an
animal you like.
If they are spooky and kick the bucket over all the time or hate to get
on the stand, you will not milk them long. Stress is not good for you
or the goat. Make it fun for both of you.
2) The goat
needs to have teats a size that fits my hands. Too small and it takes
hours, too large and you damage the teat. Make sure you are a fit.
3) Not all goats milk tastes the same. Ask to try some of the milk
before you buy the goat.
How to Milk a Goat
Get a Good Stanchion
These basic things done, you need to get ready to milk. Have a stanchion
that is comfortable for you to sit at. If you have a bad back or knees
and you have to go down to low or twist; it's miserable.
I have one high enough for my knees go under the stand so I don't have
to twist my back and can face the goat. Hours of milking are not
painful for me that way.
Keeping your Goats Happy
The goat needs enough feed in the stand so they will be happy and calm.
I mix some grain, (not to much corn) in with some chaffhaye) so they
can eat longer.
Goats tend to wolf down food, a rock in the feed pan will
also slow them down. On average 1lb of feed = one gallon of milk, but
you need to challenge feed them. Every individual is different.
The Milking Process
Now to the actual milking. DO NOT PULL THE TEATS! If you have any
questions about this, ask your wife. Don't do it! Take your thumb and
forefinger and place it at the top of the teat.
Don't get any meat of
the udder in there, you will bruise the udder and cause problems. Pinch
off the top, and then roll your fingers down, pinch, with thumb and
forefinger, then middle finger, ring finger and pinkie, roll them down
teat, do not pull. Pulling only hurts, makes them kick at you and
stretches the skin, it does not get the milk out.
Milk Hygiene is Important
If you are milking
for the house, or for cheese you need to have your goat brushed first,
and then place a cheese cloth or I use a bandana that has been wet and
rung out, over the container.
You cannot strain liquid chit, so keep
it out of your milk to start with. If you get some dirt on the bandana,
take it away, wash it off, ring it out well and start over. Do not keep
milking with dirt on the cloth.
Again... you can't strain liquid and
that is what that ball of poop or dirt will be if you keep milking on
top of it.
Milking for Cheese or Cream
If you are milking for cheese you need to not disturb the
milk any more than you have to. Try not to get any foam in the pale. I
milk straight into a pitcher allowing the milk to run down the side,
like pulling a beer from a tap, rather then having it foam. You don't
want to strain it, or upset the milk any more then you have to, so
treat this milk differently.
This is the key to good cheese. Sounds
silly, but.. it is the key to the cheese.
If you want cream, do the
same, do not upset the milk. The cream won't raise as well if you have
disturbed it. Place the milk no matter what its use in the fridge,
uncovered for 24 hours, let it breath, then cover.
If used for cheese
you can use right away. I like to let it set for about an hour however.
One of my milking goats. Curious as ever!
Learn to Enjoy Working with your Goats
Milking goats is easy, but the one thing that matters most is to enjoy it. If you
don't make it enjoyable for you and your goat, you will hate it so much
that you won't have goats long. If they hate it, it's a horrible
I can't tell you how much I have hated milking some goats.
I will do that for about a week and if things don't change, they are
I have also gone out of my way to try and save milkers with poor udders
because they were a joy to milk.
In the morning I have a coffee pot out
in the barn so I can sit and enjoy the time while they eat and I get
that awesome milk for my coffee, something I look forward to.
let that foam, it's wonderful that way. In the evening I take that
time to pack up the barn and make sure in the morning I'm not coming
into a mess, which is always stressful for me.
You will find your own
routine. Make sure this is a fun and relaxing time for you. Your goats
will respond in kind.
By Gypsy, our resident homestead blogger