First off, you’ll need a milking stand. It is possible to milk without one. Trust me, I have done it. Five days post-partum. With a wild, first-freshener, kicky goat…
It can be done, but I sure looove my stand. This post has more photos of my stand if you are interested in building one like it for yourself. And check out my video on how to use a goat milking stand to get you started.
My husband whipped this stand out in an afternoon. He’s pretty handy like that… It was my birthday present this year. Some girls get flowers, I get a milking stand- and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
First, I put some grain in the feeder that is attached to the front of my milking stand. I also make sure that the head catch is open. The goats seem to get grumpy when they jump up on the stand and the head catch is closed. Picky goats.
Here is the back of the head catch.
By now, the girls are waiting at the gate and jockeying for position. Once I open the gate, one doe will make a beeline for the milking stand. If you use grain, it doesn’t take long for them to love milking time!
Say hello to Cinnamon. She was our main milker this year. She hopes for a career in modeling, but I think it will be short lived.
I like to keep the udders clipped- they are easier to wash and it helps prevent stray hairs from falling in your milk. I just use my horse clippers, or you could also use your husband’s hair clippers. Of course, I’ve never done that. Nope, not me.
Now give the udder a thorough wash. This is where my handy “reusable baby wipes” come in.
I generally use one square to do an initial “rough” wash to loosen any debris or dirt that might be clinging to the udder and then follow up with a second rag that focuses on the teats. If you are milking more than one goat, be sure to use fresh wipes for each one so you don’t pass any possible infections back and forth.
Now grab your strip cup and squeeze the first 3 or 4 squirts into it. This “flushes” any dirty milk from the teat and it gives you a chance to check the milk for any abnormalities such as clumps or bloody specks that might indicate mastitis.
Time to milk! Set your stainless steel container under your goat and gently grasp a teat. Now, I won’t claim to be an expert milker, but I use my thumb and forefinger to “close off” the top of the teat and then squeeze the rest of fingers to expel the milk. Don’t pull on the teat! Your goat will most likely communicate any objections to your technique by responding with a swift kick to your milking bucket…
Here is my How to Milk a Goat video with more details.
I started out using one hand at a time. That way, I could hold the bucket in my other hand and keep it out of the way of any random kicks. Since my girls were first fresheners this year, it took us some time to figure each other out. However, now I can milk two-handed and it goes much faster.
Once your goat’s udder is emptied, dip the teats in a teat dip solution to “seal” it up.
Rub on some udder balm- I love my homemade version the best.
Then take you milk into the house immediately.
In order to keep your milk tasting the very best, it needs to be chilled as rapidly as possible.
I have my jar and filter system waiting for me in the sink. I filter the milk, date the lid, and place into the back of my fridge (where it is the coolest).
First, rinse all of your equipment in cool water. This helps to prevent any “milk stone” buildup.
Next, wash everything with the hottest soapy water you can stand or run everything through the dishwasher to sterilize.
Allow everything to air dry thoroughly. Bacteria likes damp environments.
What is your milking routine? How many animals do you milk per day?