March 21st, 2010

pets: Sun Dancer

Non-solicited Milking Advice

OK. We’re a week into milking, and I have learned A Lot. As I’ve said before, I have most of the diary goat books on the market; I am a member of Dairy Goat Info, and I frequent Homesteading Today’s Goat Forum. I thought I had a handle on things…and then we got goats in milk. :lol:

When we started, we had the goats, we had book-knowledge, and we had a 5 minute “how-to milk” demonstration. I had spent a few months buying the “Must Have” things that the books and forums said I needed – even some of the things they said were nice to have, but not necessary. I thought we were ready……oh, how little I knew!

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Teel deer: You don’t need all the expensive stuffs the books and some forums say you need. For household use, all you really need is:

1. Container to milk in – either stainless or food-grade plastic – that’ll fit under your goat(s). What works for my Nubians won’t work for your Mini-Manchas.
2. Baby wipes to pre-clean the udders and teats (1 per goat, of course!) IF you buy the Nolvasan S, you can take a roll of paper towels, cut them in half (so they’re about the width/height of toilet paper), plunk them into a coffee can (WITH a lid) and fill the can with the diluted solution. For me, it’s easier to buy baby wipes.
3. Something for the first squirt or 2 to go into – a lid will work just fine
4. Some way to track production. I use a digital scale and a printed off spreadsheet. You could just estimate it – Mocha filled a pint jar this AM, Annie filled a pint with 1.5 cups extra – but you need to be consistent.
5. Strainer. MUST have at least the real filters – they are fantastic!
6. Teat dip cup. I have the non-return ones from Hamby Dairy – you can use a Dixie cup and toss it after each goat.
7. Something to store the milk in.
That’s it – the necessities. A stand is a necessity for ME, but might not be for you. We’ve also found a radio to be a necessity – we have it tuned to the local Classical station, and it seems to help the does get into the mood.

If you're going to be milking before sunrise/after sunset, you'll need some form of light. We have the skylight in the milkroom, which helps, but doesn't give enough light at 4:30 AM. Solar lights have a weird color, to my eyes...right now we're using a flashlight to light up the room. I've got an oil lantern coming (like what the Amish use), so we'll see how that works.

I wish someone had told me this – I’d have saved a lot of money. :sigh: Still…..Sweet Geek uses the milker, so that’s good. (His hands are really too big to hand-milk our teeny-teated Nubians. LaDue, however, has bigger teats – he’ll be able to do her with no problem. :lol:)

Also - it's Snowing. Again. NOT normal for this time of year!