So you bite the bullet and now are the proud owner of a couple dairy goats. Where do you go now? How do you safely get milk from the udder to the refrigerator while keeping it tasting fresh?
Buckets: This is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home dairy. Milking into plastic can produce “off” tasting milk and it is more difficult to sanitize. Commercial dairies use stainless steel since it does not have any pores for bacteria or dirt to hid in and can easily be sterilized. I found 2 stainless steel containers in the kitchen section of my local Target. They were inexpensive ($8-$10) and are easy to wash. The biggest drawback to them is their size. They only hold a couple quarts each, but they work for now since we are only milking one goat once per day and her kids drink the rest. The one on the left did not come with a lid, so I simply cover in with a dish towel fastened with clothespins when it is full and promptly take it into the house.
First, you can check the milk for any abnormalities such as blood specks or clumps which might indicate mastitis or other problems. I chose a black cup so I could more easily see any problems with my milk.
Second, you are doing a quick clean out of the teat as the first few squirts carry the most bacteria and dirt.
Udder Wash: I tried several different methods for cleaning my goat’s udder before milking and found that simple works best for me. There are many wash recipes online, but they often call for bleach. I really don’t like the thought of having bleach on my goats or in my milk. I also know that many people use baby wipes, but again, I steer away from disposable products. So instead, I repurposed an old coffee container with lid. I cut some squares from an old shirt and then dampened the “wipes” with a mixture of water and a couple drops of dish soap.
And that is what works for me! There are many schools of thought on home dairying, but for our needs, this system has been effective, inexpensive, and simple. What is in your collection of milking supplies? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
There is lots of info in the Goat 101 Series! A few posts to get you started-
- But Isn’t Goat’s Milk Disgusting?
- How to Milk a Goat **VIDEO**
- Choosing a Milking Schedule
- How to Tell When Your Goat is Getting Ready to Kid
- Six Lessons Learned from Kidding
Disclaimer: I am not a professional. This is simply what works for my family. Please use common sense and discretion when working with raw dairy products.