How to milk a Goat
Have you ever wanted to milk a goat? Well, it's not as easy as it looks, and it's not the same as milking a cow. But with patience, perseverance, and a willing and lactating participant, you can become the expert goat milker you've always wanted to be!
An Oberhasli goat, waiting to be milked
1. Prepare the grain and milk bucket. Put the feeder on the milking stand and place approximately 1 pound of grain in it (don't overdo it or your goat will bloat). Refer to the "Things You'll Need" list below.
2. Catch the goat. If she has a collar, you can either hold onto the collar, or clip a leash onto it and lead her.
3. Separate the milking goat from the other goats. Otherwise, the other goats will be extremely curious and interfere somehow, whether it's by stealing her grain, or distracting the milking goat, or munching on your shirt.
The stanchion closed
4. Lead the goat to the milking stand. If she knows the feed is there, she will put her head through the stanchion. Once she does that, clip it closed. The stanchion should be comfortably loose, but not allow her to slip her head back through once closed. If you get your goat used to the routine, they will easily come up and jump onto the stanchion. No stress involved.
5. Wash down the udder and teats with the sterilized cloth and warm water, wring out cloth and wipe down. This does three things. 1) It obviously removes dirt, loose hair and piece of manure clinging on. 2) the warmth relaxes the goat and helps with milk letdown, 3) udder massage causes the release of oxytocin, triggering milk letdown.
Put the bucket in position
6. Place the bucket on the stand, slightly in front of her udder.
7. Wrap your thumb and forefinger around the base of the teat tightly enough to trap the milk inside the teat.
8. Squeeze with your middle finger, then your ring finger, and then your pinky, in one smooth, successive motion. Remember to keep your grip tight on the base of the teat, or else instead of going into the bucket, the milk will slip right back up into the udder. (NOTE: Milk going back up into the udder might cause infection.) Also, be sure to direct the first squeeze from each teat (which may contain dirt and bacteria) outside the bucket--either on the ground or at a waiting, eager cat (or cat dish...). another note: don't pull on the teat! This will hurt the goat, causing her to try to pull her head out and probably step in the pail.
With some goats you may have to learn to use fewer fingers
10. your grip on the base of the teat to allow milk to refill the teat.
11. Repeat steps 6-8, with one hand on each teat. Alternate, with one teat being squeezed while the other refills. With practice, you will find an efficient rhythm.
12. Stop when you see that there isn't much milk left. The teats will be flaccid, with almost a "deflated" appearance. Massage the udder to release the remaining milk. You should get another 4-8 ounces.
13. Take the bucket away, and put it somewhere that it won't get knocked over by a curious or oblivious goat.
The fruit of your labor
14. Use a teat dip (iodine solution) after you are done milking. This will keep bacteria away from the teats, thereby keeping your goat healthier.
15. Grab the goat's collar (or attach a leash) and unclip the stanchion.
16. Lead her back to her pen, and give her a nice scratch underneath her chin.