Monday, January 21, 2013

Equipment For Milking Your Goats

The whole reason I wanted to get my 
goats was so I could milk them 
to use their milk in my handmade soaps.

I have always loved goats and had a few
growing up but my husband
wasn't as excited about getting the girls.
All of his memories of goats are of
them escaping and climbing up on things
they aren't supposed to be on,
things like his beloved vehicles.
He's a car guy, not a goat guy....

But I was finally able to convince him
that our lives would be blessed with a few
goats in the pasture.
And unlike when I had goats before,
at my parents home,
this time we did the fencing right, 
so there has yet to be a king of the mountain
episode with the goats on one of his cars,
which keeps him pretty happy.
So, back to the point of this blog post,
Milking your Girls!
Now, I have to admit I have very limited
experience in this as of yet.
But I have a doe due in June and I plan to get a lot
of experience in then!
But I wanted to at least post a blog
on some of the basics, 
at least in equipment 
that your going to need to start milking your does at home.

I bought all of the above supplies as a kit
It worked out great because they
have a mini version just for
the Nigerians.
This kit comes with the following:
Small Stainless Steel Strainer
Package of 200 Count 3-5/8" Filters
 2 Quart Stainless Steel Milk Pail
 Fight Bac Teat Spray
 Aluminum Strip Cup with Screen

Milking Pail

Your milking pail is the actual
container that you will milk into.
You want to use something that is 
made of stainless steal over 
something that is made of something like plastic
because plastic will harbor bacteria
and can also absorb weird smells and flavors
that can alter the taste of your 
milk, and not for the better.
You also want something that is going
to be very easy to get clean
and keep clean.
Because milk is the greatest
medium for growing bacteria, 
you want to keep everything nice and sanitary.

Strainer with Filter in Place

Strainer with Filter in Place

Your strainer is used to strain your milk
before it goes into it's final container.
You would pour your milk from the milking pail
through the strainer and into the final container.
I have pictures to show you what your strainer
looks like with the filter and without the filter in place.
The little metal ring is what holds the filter 
tightly in place.
You should use a new filter each time 
you strain your milk.
And you should never add warm milk to cold milk.
The reason for using the filter is to get any
small particles of dust or hair that may have
fallen off of your doe and into the milking pail.
You can shave around your does utters and 
keep her clean from dirt and debris to
help reduce what falls in your pail,
but I don't think you can honestly keep 
everything out and so that
is why you use your filter.

Strainer without Filter

Fight Bac

Fight Bac is used to clean 
your does utters and teats before and after
you milk her.
It is to help prevent any bacteria that 
may get on or in her teat from growing
and causing mastitis. 
You don't have to use this product specifically,
there are several on the market and there
are also several different recipes available
online to make your own.
This is what came in my kit so this
is what I will be using for now.

Strip Cup with Screen

Your strip cup is used at the very beginning
of each milking. 
You use this to inspect the milk that first comes
out to be sure there is no blood
or signs of mastitis.
Sometimes mastitis will cause
the milk to be stringy or clumpy.
You just want to make it a habit of checking your
girls udders and milk each day
to stay on top of any

My wonderful, handy husband
built my milking stand for me.
You will need one of these
to make milking your girls
go smoothly and easily.

Toddler not required!
Milking Stand

Your milking stand makes your job 
of milking your girls much easier
because it puts them up higher so 
it is easy to reach them and
the head gate helps control
them in case you have some that are 
not quit sure they liked to be milked.
We have a little hanging feeder on
the front of the stand so the girls
get their breakfast and dinner
while they are being milked.
It makes them much more willing participants.

So these are some of the things you would
need to get started with milking your own goats. 
This list is definitely not set in stone.
I know some people who use more
than what I have listed or
who don't use all of the things listed,
or who use things like 
stainless steel cooking pots instead of 
milking pails. 
All that is fine, you just
want to be sure that whatever you use
it works well for you,
it does the job needed
and it can be cleaned properly to 
prevent illness in you and your does.

I plan to continue with this blog post and 
have photos of me actually milking my girls,
pictures of udders,
and much more so stay tuned!

Happy Milking! 

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