Goat milk is full of health benefits. Goats are fun to have around, easy to care for and provide both meat and milk for your family. But many first time goat keepers go through all the work of purchasing and breeding their goats without actually learning how to milk a goat. When the time comes, facing those udders and a testy doe can be daunting. This simple guide to milking goats will teach you exactly how to milk a goat, a topic on which the internet provides surprisingly little information.
Equipment for Milking Goats
The list of goat milking equipment is happily short. You should have:
- A Milking Stand – A milking stand has a stanchion to hold the goat’s head so she stays still while being milked. The best milking goats for beginners are experienced does who know the routine already and hop happily up to be milked. Make sure no other goats can harass or steal food from the goat on the stand.
- A Clean Bucket
- A Shallow Pan
- Wipes, Soapy Water and a Rag – or something to clean the udder before you begin milking.
- Udder Balm or Oil – Coconut oil works great.
Goat Milker Machine
If you are milking goats at your own small farm, an automatic goat milker machine is an unnecessary expense that will take years to pay for itself. Plus you’ll miss out on one of the nicest interactions you can have with your milking goats. Even larger goat dairies do much of their milking by hand.
How to Milk a Goat in 6 Easy Steps
Once you’ve got your gear ready, it’s time to head out to the barn. Once you get the hang of it, milking goats is actually very easy.
Step 1: Put Goat on the Milking Stand
If you feed your milking goats grain every time you milk, they will soon jump happily on the milking stand themselves. This is a good time to feed any supplements or herbs (think herbal dewormers).
Step 2: Clean the Udder
You want to remove any dirt or manure from the udder before you milk. Use wipes or warm soapy water. Be sure to squeeze a drop or two from the teat and wipe the opening as well.
Step 3: Check the Milk
Examine one squirt of milk from each teat (you’ll see exactly how to get milk from a teat in the next step). Squirt it into the shallow pan and swirl it around. You are looking for clumps or blood that could indicate mastitis, a common infection in milking goats.
Step 4: Milking Goats!
So how do you actually get milk out of that udder? Here’s the technique:
Grasp the teat as high up as you can.
Use your thumb and first finger to squeeze the teat hard, trapping the milk in the teat.
Keeping your thumb and first finger tightly pinched, close your palm and the rest of your fingers to press the milk out. Do not tug or pull, simply pinch and squeeze. If no milk comes out, you are not pinching tightly enough with your thumb and first finger.
Step 5: Getting Every Last Drop
When you think you can’t get any more milk out, bump the udder with your fist. Baby goats butt the udder violently with their heads to help the milk come down. You can be more gentle, but the general idea is the same.
Step 6: Rub Balm on the Udder
To keep the udders from chapping you should rub them with balm after milking. You can purchase an udder balm or make your own for your milking goats by mixing coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil.
Learn How to Milk a Goat from an eight year old girl in this milking dairy goats video.