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Tags: Animal Husbandry, Goats, Milking, Sustainability, Urban Homestead
Categories : Animal Husbandry, Food, Goats, Homestead, Sustainability
Last night was my first solo milking night. I was really only nervous about finishing one of the goats. She is generally milked first, so my hands were fresh. In reading about milking technique I saw someone write, “Just milk the damn goat!” In other words, don’t get hung up on all the specifics, just milk. I tried to let that be my mantra. I’m proud to say I milked her all the way through and only had to give her a couple extra handfuls of food to keep her entertained. It was quite nerve wracking as she came to the end of her food, knowing that she can get “kicky” when her food runs out. I squirted myself quite often in my haste to finish her off. In fact, one leg was almost drenched in milk. I might have gotten another half a cup of milk if I hadn’t missed the bucket so much. But I milked the damn goat! Her milk is now a nice batch of chevre in the fridge.
We got a gallon of milk last night from the 4 goats. Three are still nursing kids, so the majority came from one goat. Once the others have weaned their kids will be getting something in the range of 2-3 gallons per milking! Not sure what we’ll do with all the milk, but I look forward to finding out.
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Tags: Animal Husbandry, Goats, Homestead, Urban Homestead
Categories : Animal Husbandry, Food, Goats, Homestead, Uncategorized
For the past month or so we have been learning to milk goats. Who knew it could be so hard! The actual milking is not hard so much as gaining the speed needed to finish milking before the goat gets finished eating. With the four goats we milk, only one of our goats is a leisurely eater. I can almost always beat her to the end. The other three, however, plow through their meal like it might be their last. Two of them are nursing kids, thus give less milk on the stand, so I am usually able to finish close to when they finish eating. The oldest milker in the bunch, and the one with the most milk (no kids nursing), is a super fast eater and tends to be testy once she runs out of food. I have yet to be able to milk her all the way through; one of the experienced milkers has to finish her for me.
Thursday will be my first time milking on my own – no experienced milker as back up. I’m not worried about handling the goats; I think I’ve got that down. I know the routine for milking and feeding. I can certainly get 3 of the goats milked with no problem. It’s just the one fast eating goat I’m nervous about. Right now she’s giving 10-12 cups of milk at a time and with my slowness that’s a lot of repetitive squeezing. Here’s hoping she eats slowly and my hands have enough endurance!
If you’re interested in how to milk a goat, here’s a great page with step-by-step instructions. I’ll be studying up before tomorrow!