Milking A Milk Goat

You'll need some tips on the proper manner to milk a milk goat.

If you are new to milking a milk goat, the first thing you need to keep in mind is sanitation. You will need the milk to be as sanitary as possible for your family or for the consumer to buy at the supermarket.

The milking should be done in a special room that is free from dust, odor and away from the goat pen. The room needs to be free of surfaces that might collect dust, have electricity, water, good ventilation and running water. You will need the walls, ceiling and floors clear and free of bacteria. Goat milk is highly likely to pick up coliform bacteria during the milking process. Goat dung is very dry and becomes dusty.

When milking the goat milk you can easily disturb the hair on the belly of the goat as the goat is small in size. The hair under the udder should be clipped and brushed to remove hair and dirt and also the udder should be washed with a dairy disinfectant, and a hooded milking pail should be used. Check with your local farm supply store to buy an udder-washing solution and wash the udder with this solution and warm water. Please follow the directions for the strength that will be proper as if the solution is too strong the milk goat can have udder irritation. Be sure to dry the udder and also your hands with a clean paper towel, using a fresh towel for each goat and washing your hands as you clean each goat. This will avoid chapping and udder problems.

You will need to assemble some equipment before starting to milk the goat. You will need a four-quart seamless stainless steel half-moon hooded milking pail as this will be easy to clean and disinfect. The hood and handle are easily removable to clean thoroughly. These are made especially for the milking of goats. Do avoid plastic as it is very hard to clean bacteria out of the pores in plastic and the milk may not be suitable for human drinking. A strainer is another item that is needed. If you cannot afford to buy one you might make one from two large kitchen funnels by cutting off the spouts so that you have two funnels with openings of 2-3 inches. You would then put a milk filter pad into one funnel and place the other funnel on top to hold it down very firm. You might even use a coffee filter or use a filter for this purpose that can be purchased at your local farm supply store that will contain round pieces of cotton material like the coffee filters. A container for storage of the milk is also necessary and you might use either a one, two, or four quart glass jar depending on the amount of milk obtained at each milking. You might consider buying aluminum or stainless steel cans for this purpose perhaps of the same size and please avoid plastic. A strip cup will also be necessary and a cup with a screen or a black tray at the top will be suitable. This is used to sample the milk as you will squirt the first stream of milk from each teat into this cup and then further examine it for lump, signs of abnormal milk or flakes. A platform in which to place the head of the goat so that she is higher than you are when milking and also to keep her from running away is also necessary. You will need either to sit on the floor or on a small stool while milking.

You will find that you won't have many problems when milking a milk goat, actually it can become very easy and may take a week or so for you to get used to milking but you will learn. Any time you learn anything new it does take a little time.

First place four fingers on one side of a teat and the thumb on the other. You will squeeze your thumb and index finger together to trap milk in the teat, be sure to hold this firmly or when you squeeze the other part of the teat the milk won't go into your pail. You will be shutting off the supply. Rotate then down with the rest of your fingers thus forcing the milk out and into the pail. Then you will start all over again. You will be gently bringing pressure on the teat with your second finger and forcing the milk down further. Then you will do the same with your third finger, then the little finger and the milk will go into the bucket and out of the teat.

Now be sure to squirt that first bit of milk into your strip cup so that you can ascertain any problems with the milk. It you see lumps, clots or stringiness remember this is a sign of mastitis and the milk cannot be used. Keep the pressure firm but still remain gentle. You will use one teat then go to the other and soon you will have a rhythm to your manner of milking. Keep milking until you don't get any milk, then you will want to massage the udder and you may get more milk. The massaging is very important as the last milk you get from the milk goat is the richest in butterfat.

Now your last step will be the stripping or forcing out of the very last milk in the teat, you will use the crotch of your thumb, or even the tips of the thumb and forefinger and will grasp the teat at the top again, and then force the milk out by running your fingers down the length of the entire teat. Do not stretch the udder as you could cause injuries to her small blood vessels and have blood in the milk.

I always strain the milk as soon as I have completed my milking procedures and put it in jars with lids screwed on tight and place them in the refrigerator. Remember that raw milk will have bacteria quickly at a warm temperature.

After you have finished milk you will need to clean your equipment thoroughly, in either the dishwasher or by hand. If by hand you will need hot soapy water, and if possible use a dairy disinfectant in the water. Let the items dry on their own as you don't to add lint from towels.

You can even pasteurize your milk by boiling the milk over direct heat for three minutes, then cool and refrigerate. Another method is to use a double boiler and boil the water in the bottom for perhaps 8-10 minutes, then refrigerate.

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