Goat milking for dummies: 10 things I didn’t realize about dairy goats
- At the beginning of a milking session, one must perform what I have been calling a “courtesy squirt” to clear any bacteria from the nipple.
- Goat milk comes out hot. Not cold. Who would have thought the inside of a goat’s udder is not refrigerated!
- Goats can be finicky – if they’re not in the mood to be milked, you may get a dirty goat foot in your milk bucket or in your face.
- Goats only have 2 nipples on their udder. I thought they’d have four!
- Goats have nipples! It might seem pretty obvious, but it shocked one of my friends to find out the pointy things on the udder were actually nipples. The farming term for “goat nipples” is actually “teats,” if you’re looking to sound farm educated.
- After milking, you dunk both teats in iodine to sterilize them.
- Hair has to be strained out after milking. Laura and Dr. Dave have a stock of fiber dairy filters (similar to coffee filters) to get the clumps of hair out.
- Dwarf goats are significantly smaller than standard goats. The amount of milk they produce is also smaller, but Dwarf dairy goats have surprisingly good production once they are seasoned. You can expect 1-2 quarts a day on average, as compared to a gallon from a standard sized goat.
- The amount of milk produced is determined by a number of other factors as well: maturity of the doe, number of kids in the freshening (goat birth is called a freshening), how quickly a kid is weaned to maintain maximum production, consistency of stimulation, and diet.
- Milking a goat is difficult! I thought you could just pull and something would come out. The technique is more about using your fingers to section off milk inside the udders, and then applying enough pressure to squeeze it out.
Bonus: Eggs aren’t refrigerated in the chicken or while they sit in the roosting box waiting to be collected, so why do we refrigerate them? Most other countries do not refrigerate their eggs. In the US, we wash our eggs before they go on the shelves, which washes off the protective coating that keeps bacteria out, making them more susceptible to salmonella. Grocery stores in other countries just leave their eggs out on the shelf, unwashed.
Another note – this is Luna’s first freshening and she had a single kid (Eclipse) who was weaned late and regularly sneaks feeding a through the fence. With this combination, you can certainly expect a lower milk production.