Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Goat Milking 101

In case you aren't sick of hearing about the goats I thought I would show you how we milk.  Did you know that more people in the world drink goats milk than any other type of milk?  Here in the States we assume that the majority of people drink cows milk since that is what we are accustomed to. Not the case.  I can't imagine how much milk we would have if we had a cow.  I believe cows give upwards of 5 gallons a day.  I am stumped with just one gallon daily!

  Mocha is the first goat to be milked and she hops right up on the stand.  There is a moveable brace for her head so that once I lock her in, she can't pull her head out.  She has plenty of room to bend her head, I just don't have to worry about her going anywhere.  This is the most common and easiest way of milking.  Once a goat is trained on the stand, you can also trim their hooves and administer medications should they need them without stressing the animal too much.  I sit on a hay bale next to the stand. I milk by hand, usually one teat at a time.  Some people use both hands, one on either teat but I prefer to do one hand.  Then I can switch if and when my hand gets cramped.

After the teats are completely emptied of milk I will let the goat continue to eat while I strain the milk.  Straining is important because it ensures the cleanliness of the milk.  During milking, hairs from the goat, pieces of hay or whatever can fall into the milk pail therefore contaminating the milk.  By straining immediately after milking we are able to get any impurities out asap.  I usually strain Mocha's milk in the barn, and take Latte's up to the house before straining.
We store the milk either in quart mason jars, or half gallon glass milk jars in the fridge.  Glass is the easiest to clean and sterilize.  I don't recommend using plastic milk jugs as its hard to ensure the plastic is clean enough.  With milk you never can be too careful.  So there you have it!  The whole process should take 15-20 minutes.  More if you decide to sit and play with the baby goats...

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