How to milk a goat
The milking process, for milking a goat is generally considered to be trickier than milking a cow. It will take some practice in order to get it spot on, but if you follow this guide closely, you will get the hang of it. Before you crack on, there are a few pieces of equipment that you will need in order to successfully milk a goat.
You will need to have a suitable amount of grain to keep the goat occupied throughout. You will also need a milk bucket and a milking stand. The milking stand provides the goat with feed to keep it occupied and it also secures behind the animal’s neck to stop it from moving.
Step-by-step guide to milking a goat
The first step is to catch the goat. If the goat has a collar then it will be easier. Once the goat is caught, take it to the milking stand. If the goat is aware of the food that’s there, it will put its head straight through the slats. After a few times, this will become a routine.
Before you milk a goat, you will need to clean the udders and the teat. Use a clean cloth and warm water. This works on three levels, it removes any dirt from the udder, relaxes the goat and stimulates the letdown of milk.
With the bucket placed underneath and slightly forward of the udder. It is time to start milking. Wrap your thumb and forefinger around the base of the teat to trap the milk inside. Next, squeeze with your middle finger, then your ring finger and occasionally the little finger. If this is done in one smooth motion you should see milk squirt into the pail. It is very important not to let milk go back into the udder as it can cause infection. The first squeeze of each teat should be directed away from the pail.
Let more milk into the teat by loosening your grip with the thumb and forefinger. Repeat step 3 again on the other teat and alternate until the milk runs out.
You will know when the milk has run out as the teats will look deflated. Try massaging the udder for 30 seconds to release more milk. It is quite likely that you will get a lot more and you can carry on milking the goat.
- Put the pail somewhere safe and lead the goat back to her pen, make sure to give her a good scratch under the chin so she associates milking with reward.
Tips & advice
It is best to milk a goat away from the rest of the herd. The other goats will become curious and could try to steal her food, become nosy at the goat milking process, or kick over the pail.
Once you have finished milking a goat, wash the teats with an iodine solution. This will help ward off any infection and keep the goat generally healthier, meaning that you can carry on goat milking.
The first few times you milk a goat, she will probably try to move your hand away from her udder. If she does this, stop milking but keep you hand on the teat to show her that she can’t shake you off.
- Goats can kick, hard. Don’t put your head or the bucket near her hooves.