So you bite the bullet and now are the proud owner of a couple of dairy goats. Where do you go now? How do you safely get milk from the udder to the refrigerator while keeping it tasting fresh?
Goat Milking Equipment Needed
Milking Equipment #1: Stainless Steel Milking Pails
A stainless steel milking pail is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home dairy. You must milk into a stainless steel pail because 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 hide and can easily be sterilized. When we were milking goats I found 2 stainless steel containers in the kitchen section of my local Target that were easy to wash and didn’t cost a bunch of money. These containers would work great for beginners or someone not milking a lot but for us, the size was a drawback.
No matter what kind of stainless steel container or pail you choose I do recommend finding one with a lid. A lid makes transporting your milk from one area to another much easier. If you can’t find a lid it isn’t the end of the world, in the beginning, one of my buckets didn’t have one. So I simply covered it with a dish towel fastened with clothespins when it was full and promptly took it into the house.
You can find all kinds of stainless steel pails in different sizes and price ranges online. Don’t think you need specific “milking pails” simply look for stainless steel containers that fit your needs.
Milking Equipment #2: Strip Cup
- 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.
Milking Equipment #3: Filter System
Milking Equipment #4: Udder Wash:
I have 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 most of them often call for bleach and I really don’t like the thought of having bleach on my goats or in my milk.
Many people use baby wipes but I try to steer away from using disposable products. So instead, I cut some squares from an old shirt and then dampened the “wipes” with a mixture of water and a couple of drops of dish soap. Then repurposed an old coffee container with a lid for storage.
Milking Equipment #5: Storage Containers
Optional Goat Milking Equipment
When you are starting your home dairy there is different equipment that you must have (like above) and there is equipment that just makes things a little bit easier. These next couple things listed are things can make milking goats a bit easier.
Optional #1: Milking Stand
A goat milking stand isn’t something you must have in order to get milk from your goats. You can tie to hobble a goat to get it to stand for milking. A milk stand is a platform that you can train your goats to stand on while you milk. I have found that the milk stand elevates the goat just enough so that you can easily reach their udder for milking.
Again this isn’t something you have to have to milk a goat, but it does secure them and make milking a little bit easier.
Optional #2: Milking Machine
The list above names all the equipment that you will need to milk a goat by hand, but another option is using a milk machine. This is an investment, but may be something to look into if you are hand milking a herd of goats a day. A milk machine can save your hands and your time in the long run.
We eventually made the switch to a milk machine after an entire decade of milking by hand. You can listen to why we made the change on this episode of the Old-Fashioned on Purpose Podcast.
What Works For Your Home Dairy?
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.