Monday, April 19, 2010

Milking Goats

Each morning we make the trek out to the barn to milk our girls.  It is still cold in the mornings so I have to bundle up in a coat.  We put the kids up each evening by securing them into the creep feeder. If left out those little piglets would drink all of our milk. We have to share.  Well, we’re going to share whether they like it or not.  We start by cleaning the teats and udder with baby wipes. This gets any nasties off and loosens and removes any loose hair.


After cleaning the teats it’s time to milk.  Isabella has a nice big udder.  The udder is the milk bag.  The correct term is udder.  The teat is the nipple part of the udder. The part that I grasp to encourage the milk to come out.


Isabella is a large Dairy Goat. She is easy to milk.


I grasp the teat in my first finger and thumb to seal off the milk in the teat and then squeeze it out by adding my second and third fingers.  The milk comes out in a stream.  I have to do this quickly because Isabella is a pig in goat skin.  She sticks her face in her feed dish and doesn’t take a breath till every last grain is gone.  I only have this time to milk because she becomes restless and starts putting her foot into the milk bucket.  We have found a way to get around this behavior.  We have added a couple of fist sized rocks into the feed.  She has to push these around to get the grain. Thereby taking longer to eat and giving me longer to milk.


Carina is next.  She knows where her milking stand is and heads straight for it.


Same process, brush, wash and repeat. Sort of like washing your hair.


Carina is a very easy milker.  She eats slow, steps wide so that I can get the bucket into place.  She doesn’t fidget nor lift her foot during milking. 


There is even time to visit after milking while she finishes eating her breakfast. 


I have a milk can with a strainer set up in the barn.  The milk is strained immediately to remove any dust or errant hairs that might get into the milk.  When we get into the house I filter the milk again to make sure that it is clean and debris free.  I put the milk into glass containers and immediately into the refrigerator.  We are making plans to add a milk and cheese room onto our house.  In Maine it is legal to sell unprocessed milk if you have a certificate.  Maine is one of the few states that allow raw milk to be sold.  Raw milk is safe and healthy to drink. We would like to be able to market our milk and cheese to the public. 

Mo likes to be near during milking.  You never know when some milk with appear in a dish for a sweet kitty.


Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.



Becky said...

That's wonderful that Maine legalized raw milk. I wish I could say the same for North Carolina. When we went to visit my sister, we got to help milk her goat and enjoy the milk. My kids have been asking for goat's milk ever since. I can't wait to get enough land to have a goat or two....or three :)

katiegirl said...

I wish MD would legalize the sale of raw milk! I love milking my goat, there's something about it that's so calming!

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

Hi Kelly, You might recall that I'm a newbie...we had gorgeous doelings 2 wks ago. The mama is a first timer and has been very resistant to milking. She's not letting me have much....1 Cup at a time. Tonight I spent the first 15 min's TRYING and she was holding back. Then she gave me a cup. She won't get on the milking stand so I pin her to the wall so she doesn't tap dance and tie her. She stands still mostly but once the grain is gone she's outathere!!!

Any suggestions would be VERY appreciated! Maybe a post sometime when you have time. Thanks much!

Fearless Nester said...

You have certainly mastered the art of milking with that trick you came up with. Me, I would be like the old Lucy episode where she plops down the milking stool and announces: How now, brown cow!, goat in this case. ~Lili