How to Milk a Goat – By Lexi

Lets get something straight, Goats are smelly, stubborn, eating machines but other than they being delicious over a grill I do have to admit they do have other uses milk is one. Cheers!

How to Milk a Goat

If you have ever wanted to keep an animal, goats are a great option. Not only are they friendly and sociable animals, they can also contribute to your self-sufficiency with their milk. Goat milk has become increasingly popular because of its higher fat content, which makes it ideal for making cheeses. It is also easier to digest. Milking a goat can be fairly easy and definitely beneficial for you if you know how to do it correctly.

Preparing the Goat
Before you begin milking, there are a few supplies to gather and preparations to make.

  1. Most importantly, you will need a stainless-steel bucket to hold the milk. The bucket should be  big enough to hold 6 quarts. Make sure that the bucket is sanitized before filling it with milk.IMG_6459
  2. During the milking process, you will need to use a milking stand that will keep your goat in place. To keep the goat occupied, place some feed in a container for your goat to eat while you do the milking. If your goat eats faster than you can milk, try placing a few rocks in the bottom of the container to make it more difficult to get to all of the grain.
  3. Prepare an iodine solution to clean the udder and teats of your goat. This will clean off any hair, dirt, and bacteria to ensure that the milk is as pure as possible. The water of the solution should be warm to encourage milk letdown. You can also massage the udder and teats to help with the letdown process.

Milking the Goat

  1. Before you begin milking the goat, check the teats for mastitus. This is caused by bacteria and causes redness, swelling, heat, and pain in the teats. If you see signs of mastitus, you should not milk the goat, as it will be painful for the goat and the milk will be undrinkable.
  2. You want to begin milking your goat fairly soon after preparing the teats when the milk letdown is at its best. The first squeeze of milk out of each teat should not be saved in your milking bucket. This first bit of milk is most likely to have bacteria in it. After that, your goat will be ready to milk.milking technique
  3. Begin by wrapping your thumb and forefinger around the base of the teat. Apply just enough pressure to trap the milk inside the teat, but not enough to harm the goat. With your remaining middle, ring, and pinky fingers, squeeze them in succession of each other around the teat to squeeze out the milk. Then, release your thumb and forefinger to allow the teat to fill with milk and repeat the same squeezing motion.
  4. Alternate between the two teats in this pattern. You will find a rhythm that works most efficiently for you. Depending on the size of the goat, you may have to use less fingers. Be sure not to pull or twist the teats as this will hurt your goat.
  5. You will know when your goat is out of milk when the stream becomes slower and the teats and udder have a deflated appearance. At this point, you can massage the udder again for any final milk letdown and milk the goat completely. It is important to get most of the milk out of your goat, but you do not want to wring her out.
  6. Once you have finished milking the goat, you can wipe and massage the udder and teats again to prevent chapping and bacterial growth. Use a gentle, conditioning solution. Something with lavender is always a good option for soothing skin, even for your goat. After all, she does deserve to be pampered.

Storing the Milk

fresh goat milk

  1. After milking your goat, you will have anywhere from 4 to 6 quarts of fresh goat milk. Be sure to keep it in a safe spot where it won’t get knocked over while you return your goat to its pen.
  2. Goat milk should be cooled down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours after you milk the goat. This is to prevent any bacteria growth and to keep the milk as pure as possible.
  3. You can store your goat milk in glass mason jars. As you pour the milk into the jars, strain it through cheese or milk cloth to filter out any impurities. Then seal the lid, mark it with the date, and put it in your refrigerator to store it for later use.

So many things can be done with goat milk. You can use it in recipes, drink it, or make a variety of different cheeses. The process is fairly simple and once you practice milking a few times, you will be able to do it quickly and efficiently. Goat milk is a great product to have on hand, especially if it something you are able to provide for yourself.

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