6 Basic Supplies and Equipment You Simply Must Have to Milk a Goat

A tri-colored Nubian goat standing on a blue milkstand, waiiing to be milked.

Your goat has kidded and now you're ready to milk her. What equipment do you need to milk your goat? Here are the six basic goat milking supplies you'll need.

Updated March 2022

If you're planning to run a goat dairy, you will need to follow the regulations in your state regarding milking equipment and facilities, but if you are milking goats for your family's milk supply, you have more leeway. 

Equipment needed to milk a goat

You can buy new equipment, or you can improvise by using items you may already have.

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Some goats aren't very happy when you first begin milking them, including my Nubian doe Dream. She definitely wasn't a dream on the milk stand! 

I might have given up if a friend hadn't given me these eight tips for training a goat to behave on the milk stand.

Here are my six goat milking must-have supplies and equipment:

#1 - A way to restrain your goat

A milkstand or goat stanchion is the usual method of restraining a goat to be milked, but there are alternatives. 

A metal milk stand purchased from Hoegger Supply Company or Hamby Dairy Supply - both great places to shop when you need goat supplies - might cost upwards of $400.

A wooden stand is easy to make at home if you're handy (or know someone who is); I also see them for sale on Craigslist from time to time.

A dairy goat standing on a blue and pink goat milking stand.

Hubby built a wooden stand for me when we first bought our goats, but we lost it in the barn fire.

I bought this metal milkstand from my neighbor for $15. The metal deck, where the goat stands, has a rusted-out hole in it but a piece of one-inch-thick plywood fits on top and works just fine. 

All of the paint had worn off, so I spray-painted it last summer.

You'll notice that this milkstand doesn't have a way to secure a feeder to the front. I set a cooler in front of the stand and set my feeder on top. It was the perfect height

The advantage of using a milkstand is that it gets the goat up off the ground, which is much easier on your back.

How to milk a goat without a stand

No funds to buy a milk stand? You can still restrain your goat with a little ingenuity. 

When I took my goats to the county fair, I needed to milk them daily but didn't want to take the bulky and heavy milkstand with me. 

Instead I put the doe's feed on the other side of a cattle panel fence with holes that were about 6x6 inches. She put her head through the fence to eat her feed, and I'd snap her collar to the fence. 

By doing this in a corner, the goat stood against the fence and couldn't dance away from me. (I had to sit on the concrete floor though.)

#2 - A milking bucket

I recommend a seamless, stainless steel container to catch the goat's milk.

I have a milking bucket with a half-moon cutout lid. Supposedly you can milk into the bucket with the lid on top to help keep out flies and debris, but I've never quite gotten the hang of it.

I've also used a stainless steel stockpot similar to this one as an alternative to a goat milking bucket. The stockpot's higher sides are especially helpful if your goat likes to stomp her foot in the bucket. 

Stockpots don't have a bail (handle) like a bucket does though, which makes it a little harder to carry back to the house.

Goat milking bucket with lid

Some folks use plastic containers such as ice cream buckets. Here's why I don't.

Plastic can retain odors and stains. That makes me wonder if it will also retain bacteria. I don't think it can be cleaned well enough for milking. 

Others use glass canning jars, milking one teat at a time. Personally, I don't use glass around my animals. I'm afraid glass will break. 

Plus, obviously, it takes twice as long to milk one teat at a time!

#3 - Clean your goat's udder before and after you milk

Your goat has been laying on straw, dirt and so on before she came into the barn to be milked. I don't want any of that debris falling into my milk bucket, and I'm sure you don't either.

Some of the items that will help you clean your goat before milking are brushes, udder wash, teat dip, udder wipes, and udder balm.

Use a soft brush like this one to remove hair, straw and other debris from the goat's belly. 

You'll also need to clean the doe's udder before milking. You can purchase dairy udder wash or use a homemade formula. 

I use a homemade udder wash made from a quart of water, 2-3 Tablespoons of vinegar, and a drop or two of dishwashing detergent. Some goat owners use a splash of bleach instead of vinegar.

Soft washcloths can be used with the udder wash to wash and dry the teats before milking. I cut old, worn flannel shirts into 8" squares instead. 

If you prefer quick, easy and convenient solutions, these disposable goat udder wipes might be what you're looking for.

You'll also need teat spray or dip to use after milking to protect against infection. Udder balm is optional, but your goats might appreciate it!

I pour a bit of the homemade udder wash into a disposable cup and dip the goats' teats into it after milking. I pour out the solution and refill between goats.

Items to clean your goat before milking: washcloths, strip cup, brush.

#4 - A strip cup

A strip cup is simply a small container that holds the first couple of squirts from each teat when you begin to milk your goat.

Studies show that the first milk holds the most bacteria [source], so in order to keep that bacteria out of your milk pail, the first couple of squirts should be disposed of.

Collecting the first stream of milk from each teat in the strip cup also allows you to check for clumps, flakes and clots in the milk that might mean mastitis.

I use a small plastic cup to collect this first bit of goat milk. In between goats, I dispose of this milk and rinse out the cup. 

Don't use the same cup that held teat dip as your strip cup. Always keep "clean" and "dirty" (or "before" and "after") separate. Cleanliness will help control the spread of germs from one goat to another as well.

Tri-colored dairy goat on a metal milkstand

#5 - A strainer to strain the milk

Use a stainless steel milk strainer and filters to strain the milk after you get back in the house. I use this stainless steel funnel with a strainer insert which also includes the disposable filters.

#6 - Milk storage containers

When you've finished milking your goat, you'll need containers to store the milk in.

You can buy plastic milk jugs online, which are perfect for those who sell raw milk. 

I use quart Mason jars. I've tried using half gallon jars but found that they are too tall for my refrigerator shelves.

Here's how I store goat milk for optimum freshness. 

Quart canning jars and lids are handy to store goat milk.

Fresh, delicious goat milk depends a lot on cleanliness and chilling the milk as soon as possible after milking. Here's how I process fresh goat milk, including my tips for the best-tasting goat milk.here.

Other items you might need to milk a goat

Of course there are many other products that you might want to use - a set of hobbles if your goat likes to kick while on the milk stand, a ramp up to the milk stand or sides for your stand to keep your goat from falling off, and more, but these six items are the basics that you'll need to get started.

After several years of being charged by half a dozen goats who each wanted to be first on the milk stand, I made three changes to my milking routine that changed my life and made milking safer. Perhaps you need to make some changes too?

Are you looking for more goat information? Here are all of my goat posts, including a set of free recordkeeping printables.

As a goat lover and a homestead gardener, I'm excited to also share my gardening tips with you - from planting seeds to enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor! You can find my gardening advice and insights right here, so let's dig in and cultivate some fresh, delicious produce together.

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This post includes affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here

Dairy goat in a milking stanchion


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