Step One: Milk a Goat

The babies are born, now it’s time to milk.

Of course I went into the first spring and summer of milking goats with dreams of drinking milk, selling milk, making goat cheese and goat milk soaps, even ice cream (supposedly, Nigerian Dwarfs is the BEST for ice cream). And while I was able to do some of this, my primary goal was to learn how to milk and how to safely prepare it so we could drink it.

There was yelling…

I researched how to milk a goat prior to putting my doe up on that milk stand. I was as prepared as I could possibly be. For any beginners out there, let me tell you Tyson could hear me yell from the front yard (I promise no goats were injured in the process, in fact, I’m fairly certain they were laughing). The YouTube how-to videos were helpful, but I still had to learn how to pinch and squeeze the teats just right. Goats also need to be trained or reminded what it feels like to be on that milking stand with someone pulling on their bits and pieces. They will kick and dance and step into the bucket. I remember feeling so accomplished for getting a substantial amount and then the goat would kick it all over. After a few days, the dust settled and I found my time milking goats to be therapeutic.

Looking back at last summer, I am very proud that I was able to stock our fridge and freezer with milk. It tasted great! And it was safe to drink.

Quick Tips

  • Everyone says it takes a week or two to get the hang of it, this is true.

  • I am a believer in when you feel anxious, your animals do as well. So head out to the barn with a relaxed mindset and low expectations.

  • To keep the milk clean from bacteria, be sure to keep the milking stand and the area around it clean, milk into a stainless steel container (unlike this photo of Kenley below). I keep the udders shaved.

  • Danelle with Weed ‘Em And Reap has a recipe for udder wipes using essential oils. I wash the udder and the belly of the goat.

  • Get your kids involved! Kenley is on her way to being able to milk a goat on her own. But for now, I first milk the goat out and then she sits down to get the last couple ounces.

On average, 65% of the world’s population drinks goat milk! Yes, more than cow milk.

Why? Because it is easier to digest – goat milk takes 30 minutes to digest whereas cow milk takes two hours. Goat milk has less lactose than cow milk and is an alkaline-forming food which helps keep your pH levels at the proper level.

Source: Lindsey Proctor wrote an interesting article on Why We Drink Raw Goats Milk for Nourishing Gourmet.