I’m always trying to come up with better systems and ways to do things here on the homestead. Anything that can save a little time and make everyday tasks a little more streamlined is always at the top of my list!
A while back I wrote a post on improvising your own goat milking equipment. Like I stated in that post, you don’t have to shell out wads of cash to have safe, functional equipment for your home dairy.
Since starting to milk our cow, I’ve had to change a few pieces of my equipment (a bigger bucket for sure!), but many of the other things work for cow’s milk just as well as they do for goats.
However, I recently had a “duh” moment and wanted to share my findings. It’s just a little change, but every little bit counts, right?
As you saw in my initial post, I recommended using a washable coffee filter as a milk filter. However, the only kind they had at the store when I purchased mine was a round one with a plastic bottom (on the right in the photo). I used it for over a year and it worked. But it was slow to filter because of the solid bottom and I usually had to stand there and gently shake it to get the milk to filter through the build-up of the foam.
Until I discovered the cone-style reusable coffee filters (on the left).
I’ve found that this style of filter works much more efficiently, and it only costs a few dollars more. (I ordered this one off of amazon.com, but I know many stores carry them, too). Perfect!
Also, another lightbulb moment:
Initially, I was putting the filter inside a canning funnel to pour the milk into my jars. Like this:
But, my sister helped me milk a little this summer and discovered that switching them around and putting the funnel inside the filter actually works even better. This way the filter doesn’t flop around in the mouth of the funnel and splash milk on your counters.
Why didn’t I think of that earlier? I have no idea. 😉
And of course, the jar issue… A milk cow obviously gives far more milk than a goat, so quart sized mason jars were no longer cutting it as far as milk storage.
Thankfully, I discovered that Azure Standard carries gallon sized glass jars for VERY reasonable prices. I’ve heard many people say to buy lots of gallon-size jars of pickles as a way to collect inexpensive jars for milk, but after pricing them out, I think Azure is even cheaper than that! Plus, you don’t have to make yourself sick on pickles…
So, just a few little tips to make your home dairying adventures a little easier. I’m hoping to have the “duh” moments at my house, so you don’t have to! 🙂
Interested in other home dairy posts? Check these out:
- Goat versus Cow: The Great Debate
- Choosing a Milking Schedule
- My Milking Routine
- Six Lessons I Learned from Kidding this Year
- How to Milk a Goat **VIDEO**
- FREE Printable Milk Yield Record Sheet
Care to share YOUR favorite cow or goat milking equipment tips?
This is great! Why didn’t I think of this! Oh well, I’m glad you did. I can stop buying cheesecloth now! Thank you.
Ok, I might rock your world here…..you can pick up the gallon sized glass jars FOR FREE at your local restaurants! We visited our local Mongolian grill (which has sadly gone out of business) and asked them for their pickle jars. They even saved them for us! We picked up new lids from Azure, since the old lids smelled of pickles. I use milk filters, still, for both my goats and cows, hoegger sells a wonderful small milk strainer.
Thanks for this! We just got a milk cow in May and were using the same method as you, but now will also try switching the funnel and the filter! I always thought there should be a better way to make that thing quite flopping around! Thanks again! 🙂
Maria Moles says
My gallon jars come from our local Gino’s! They were just going to throw them away, and my husband’s uncle (our neighbor) started asking them to save the jars for us. It worked well for all involved! 🙂 Yes, they smell like peppers, but after a couple washings that goes away. I’m thrilled with my jars! 😀
Azure carries so many things! I even bought starts from them this year for the garden and I’ve seen several people take home empty 5 gallon buckets with their order or even just lids. I’ll have to look into their jars. Thanks for the heads up.
Very nice! It’s funny how it sometimes takes another perspective to come up with a simple little change
I read your post about the improvised equipment for milking goats first, then this one–I’m wondering what you did about the bigger bucket for the cow. I’m sure the smaller stainless steel buckets that you use for goat milk aren’t nearly big enough, and so did you bite the bullet and get a bucket from a dairy supply company or did you find another frugal source of large stainless steel buckets? A dairy cow is quite far off in my future but I am still so excited that I want to plan every little thing. 🙂
Good question Rosalyn-
I bit the bullet and bought a stainless steel bucket w/ lid for my cow on eBay. It was a little cheaper than some of the places online, but it was really important that I have a stainless steel one, so couldn’t think of a cheaper, more “local” option. 🙂
We started milking goats a few years ago, and like you we were trying to be inexpensive, yet make sure we had safe milk. We use a plastic pail with warm water and dish soap to wash udders, and for the milk, I found stainless pails at Tractor supply, in with their dog food bowls, they were pretty inexpensive. To strain the milk, I use cotton towels, the old flour sack kind, because they will not drop fibers in my milk and the weave is very close. Nothing ever gets in my milk. We just take the cloth and place it over a measuring cup and pour the milk in, and then transfer to glass jars. We use the plastic canning lids because they are reusable.
I use the same towels when making cheese and it works great.
Thompson Family says
I did the cheese cloth thing, matter of fact, still am! I duct tape it to the side of my canning funnel. HA!
Great idea, I’m switching.
Jill Winger says
Hehe– duct tape! Nothing wrong with that! 🙂
This is wonderful! We have just started milking and chose the same improvised equipment — and fought the same battle. So glad to see this link in your latest post on safe milk handling.
One question….what type of lids to you use? metal or plastic? I was told metal would rust and should go plastic.
I really like pet edge they have the cheapest stainless steel pails that I know of. their smallest pail(1 qt.)is about $ 3.99 and their largest pail(about 3 gal.,and 1 qt.)these pails are much cheaper than the ones I have found in livestock catalogs.
I was wondering, do you have to but those stainless steel pails that are specialized for milking(the ones that run for like $60),because the ones in pet edge look very similar to the ones I’ve seen on various goat equipment supplier’s websites
Jill Winger says
Hmmm… I’ll have to check out Pet Edge for sure!
You don’t have to have a milking-specific bucket, as long as it’s stainless steel, you should be good to go!
Patty Lack says
I use the same setup for filtering goat milk but include a filter-clean inline filter, size 4 9/16. I have been milking for years and have always bought and used them, either with this setup for small amounts of milk or with my large strainer when milking more goats. I guess I am over-cautious but here in Oklahoma we have a lot of dust and I feel, for me, that the extra filter is essential to clean milk. It is definetly an option if you feel very small particles ( I.e. dust) could be contaminating that awesome, hard fought for organic grass-fed milk you just gathered.
You might consider a beer funnel – the filter and funnel are sort of all-in-one.
Also, Kingswholesale often has better prices and cheaper (often free) shipping than Pet Edge. http://www.kingwholesale.com/
Jill Winger says
Cool! I’ll have to check it out!
Hey! I am Very new to the dairy goat world and I have been wiping her off then milking into a bowl then straining it back and forth through a metal mesh strainer then sticking it in the fridge right away. It didn’t cost me anything as I already had it. But after reading what others do it seems this may not be enough? Opinions?
It tastes great 😉
Jill Winger says
As long as the milk tastes good, and you aren’t getting “floaties” in it, I think what you are doing is fine!
Thanks! It is the best tasting I have had. Absolutely no smell or after taste! yay! ;0) Thank you for your blog and all the info you provide!!!! We are in the beginning stages of learning how to live self-sufficently.
Julie Isrow says
We are looking into milking goats and just getting more and more confused- or maybe overwhelmed is a better word! Your articles have beena great help, but I am still trying to determine how long the milk is good for when refrigerated if left raw? And how soon after milking wouldnit need to be “pasturized” if choosing that route (in addition to raw, or instead of…)
This made me laugh. We are new to milking goats this year and because we’re “use what we already have” kind of people, we naturally started filtering with our old gold filter and canning funnel.
We also found the funnel inside the filter hack along the way lol