Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Notes from the Milking Parlor

After all the babies are born and are 3 weeks old,  The Nebraska Prairie Girls starts milking.

I do not bottle feed my  goat babies for mainly one reason,  I need them to do the milking when I cannot.   Most traditional dairies take the babies from momma after they have had colostrum for a couple days.   Once the babies have had colostrum they train them to a bottle or a lamb bar ( a bucket with a lot of nipple attached to the outside).    This is  done so that the dairy can control how much milk the babies consume.  

I leave my kids on the mom until I wean them in the fall.   I separate the kids from the moms at night, so I can have the morning milk.   After I milk  I put moms with the kids for the day and repeat the process in the evening.  In the event that I can not milk in the morning or we go out of town, the kids are left with their moms allowing them to nurse.  So in a way the kids do the milking for me, when I cannot.   This is the milking  arrangement that I have always used and it works out great for me.   Keep in mind the milk that is produced here on our farm is for our families consumption and for use in making bath and body products for my business.   We do not need to milk twice a day as we already produce enough milk to full fill our needs.  

Welcome to my Parlor:

Milking Parlor
I know that it is primitive looking but, it is clean, has cement floors, and is out of the weather.  I just added the stanchion to the left this year.   I bring in two goats at a time, which help to speed up the process.
Supplies I use:  The blue bucket is my wash bucket that has warm water and about a tablespoon of Dr. Bronners Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap and a few drops of Tea Tree oil.  The peppermint in the soap feels nice and refreshing and the Tea Tree oil adds anti-fungal properties.   In my wash bucket I have several wash clothes for wiping and cleaning udders.    I have my stainless steel milking bucket and my stainless milk pail with lid.   I also have a couple dry wash clothes for drying udders once I have washed them.     I used to use paper towels to do all the udder washing.  Sarah, a  friend of mine who has a grade-A goat dairy, saves money and trees by using wash cloths.   I thought if she can clean  fifty goat udders and not use paper towels than I could certainly milk my small herd with out paper products.
July and Rosie ready to be milked


Milking Rosie
Once the girls are in the stanchion I give them their grain rations in the grain holder  by their heads.   When they are happily eating I wash and dry their udder.    At this time I am hand milking though I do have a milking machine.   I do not think it would be worth  digging out the milker since I am only milking four goats at this time. I will not add the remaining goats to the milk line until the end of June.    July to the left is new to the whole milking idea as this is her first year.  Rosie on the right is an old hand at this and is very easy to milk.  July started off being great to milk but as time goes on she becomes a little more, let's say, non-compliant.    I milk one goat while the other is eating and then move to the other goat.  When both are done milking they are put in with the rest of the herd and I go get the next two milkers. 
                                                              
Look at the udder on Cinder.   Cinder is Rosie's mom and one of the goats who had triplets this year.   I tell you after milking her by hand,  my muscles are throbbing.  (Um,  maybe I should get out my milking machine after all)





Frothy goodness in the milk pail
After I milk each goat I dump the milk into the milk pail with the lid.  Then I go milk the next goat.   You learn from experience not to leave milk in the bucket  in case the bucket gets kicked over or someone sticks their foot in the pail.   

Straining the milk
Once done milking, I bring the milk in the house right away to strain through a milk filter, into a glass jar.    Today, I got 10.8 pounds of milk. Keep in mind that is not a lot of milk to get from four goats.   However,  I am still sharing their milk with their babies and I do not milk them all the way out. 

The milk is then dated and placed in the frig. 


This is not a step by step list of the procedures I use but just a snap shot.  There are many other little steps that go into milking and handling milk.   I figured most of my readers where not going to go out and milk goats,  so there was no need to list everything.   

One thing I did not mention is the time that I milk in the morning.   Can you guess?   5 am. nope, 6 am. nope, more like 9 am.   I know shocking!   I separate the babies from momma's around 8:30 the night before so I give them about 12 hours before I milk.    My friends husband always thought that I was out milking goats at the crack of dawn. (Not this Prairie Girl)   He was very shocked to find out that I did not milk until 9:00 am.

I hope that you enjoyed the tour of my milking parlor.   If you have any questions or suggestions please leave me a comment. 

If you would like to take a look at the products that are made from the milk we produce, it is available at    Double L Country Store   Here is my friend Sarah's Goat Dairy website, if you  want to see Grade A milk parlor check it out.   Victory Hill Farm 

1 comment:

  1. You sure know a lot about milking your goats. Those are lots of milk! Are you doing that as a livelihood? Dairy products are very demanding in the market. Back at our ranch, we used to raise farm animals and do ranch crop chores. It was tiring since those jobs don't require machines to operate, but it was fun.
    Darren Lanphere

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