We started when the first babies turned 6 weeks old. We separated them from their mom at night and in the morning milked. The first week was really hard. I had never milked and my goat had never been milked. Her teats are small and it made my hands cramp to milk her and apparently her openings are small because the stream coming out was super thin. After 20 minutes I’d only have a pint of milk. We needed to make the process easier. It was frustrating and hard on my hands and time consuming. When school starts back we can’t be in the barn milking for an hour. So, I bought a milk machine from Dansha Farms.
It doesn’t look like much. It’s homemade for sure but it was $140 and a game changer! I read several blog posts/reviews from other homesteaders and goat keepers and decided that it was worth a shot and the guy that sells them is apparently very good at customer service so I figured if it didn’t work for us we would be able to get our money back.
But it works and it works very well! The first time using it I got a full quart in 5-6 minutes vs a pint in 20+ minutes. It’s easy to use and easy to clean.
The next day we decided to give both goats a try and Grace, our Nubian, was terrible on the stand. We did not get any milk from her that day. We made some modifications to our stand and tried again the next day with Tony holding her legs and it worked! We were able to get a quart.
And Tapi, the first doe (LaMancha) is now jumping on the stand on her own so no more goat wrestling! The dust from the straw and alfalfa are allergy triggers for Tony so he wears a mask.
Today was our second day of successfully milking both does and we got over 2 quarts between the two of them.
First I clean the udders and teats with chlorhexadine and teat wipes then I break the seal by squeezing out the first squirt of milk. Cleanliness is very important in keeping the raw milk safe and tasting good. Of course all my supplies have been thoroughly cleaned and so are my hands. Sanitizing the udders and teats and my hands is the first step.
Mamas get to eat grains and sunflower seeds while on the stand so they are pretty happy.
Then I attach the pump and turn it on. It takes about 20 seconds to build up a good suction and for the milk to start flowing.
It takes about 5-7 minutes to milk out. I rinse the pump between goats and start again with a fresh jar. I carry it all back to the house when we are done and Tony finishes letting the animals out and checking food and water. It took 24 minutes from walking to the barn to milk to walking back to the house with the milk this morning. I call that success!
I strain the milk into a coffee chiller so that it’s cooled right away. The milk should be cold as quickly as possible to keep it tasting fresh (not “goaty”) and for bacterial purposes. Fresh goats milk that is from healthy well fed goats that aren’t near a buck and is handled properly tastes creamy and very much like cows milk. Therefore the cheese tastes very good and fresh and nothing like grocery store goat cheese. Goat cheese mozzarella tastes like cows mozzarella. Chèvre is tangier but that’s the point.
Lastly, I the jars and put them in the back of the fridge. We feel quite accomplished and successful now that we are actually productively milking! I have rennet and cultures on the way and I’m looking forward to sharing cheese making. I also plan to make soap and save Apricot pits from the haul I got last week to make an Apricot Goats milk soap.