February 23, 2009

Milking Routine

I love kidding season. This is the first year that we've had goats due all at one time, in the past they've been spread out over a few months. I'll let you know when it's over if I want to do it this way again. They are due any time now...

Milking animals, whether goats or cows, really tie you down - something to think about when you are contemplating raising dairy animals. Every farmer and homesteader has their own way of milking, their own routine, and their own favorite supplies. This post reflects my own opinions only. Your mileage may vary.

First, to avoid being run over, I clip each doe to the fence. This one thing has helped make my mornings so much more pleasant. They can no longer all try to get through the gate at the same time - *I* am in charge! I bought a dog tie-out chain on clearance for $2, and cut ten-inch lengths of it with my bolt cutters. On each end I use a "snap clip"; one clips to the goat's collar and the other to the fence.

I milk in the same order every morning. I used to milk the herd queen first, but last year I ranked them by ease of milking. I had one doe with fat teats that were hard on my hands, so I milked her first, and ended with the doe that was the easiest. The herd queen falls in the middle, much to her dislike.

With the doe on the milkstand, I use squares of flannel fabric (my husband's discarded flannel shirts) to wash her udder, using a solution of water, dishwashing liquid, and vinegar. I mix the solution in a jar and submerge the flannel squares in it, pulling one out when the goat is on the stand. I mix a new jar of udder wash daily.

The first few squirts of milk go into a "strip cup", a plastic margarine tub. Then the goat is milked out. I use a tall stainless steel stock pot as my milking bucket. Afterwards, each teat is dipped into another margarine tub of udder wash solution. The doe is then walked to the goat pen and let loose; she ambles over to the hay bale and begins munching.

When the last doe is finished, I let the kids out to spend the day with their moms. By separating them at night, I only have to milk in the morning. The kids nurse all day so I don't have to milk in the evening.

Related posts:
Training a Goat to the Milkstand
Storing Milk

1 comment:

  1. What a great explanation of your milking routine! I too used to milk the herd queen first. She happens to be the hardest to milk so that puts her first on many levels. Last year though I milked her last of the two as my other doe is a very slow eater. Getting her out of the way first gives her more time to finish her ration.

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