Monday, February 18, 2013

Day one: Milking the goat

The big day is here!  Sadie, our Nigerian dwarf goat, kidded two weeks ago Saturday.  I have been getting ready to milk her since before the births.  I have read books, magazine articles, blogs, and anything else I could find on how to milk a goat.  But now I must put what I have read into action.

6:30 am is my milking time.  I separated the kids from their mom last night (12 hours works best from what I have read).  This was the hardest thing to do since the nights are still very cold.  However, the goats seem to take it well.
Next was to have everything prepared: strip cup, milk pail (mine is a stainless steel bowl), udder wash (homemade from dish washing liquid and warm water), grain to feed Sadie, a flashlight, and all that knowledge of things I have read on "how to milk a goat".  Now I am set and ready to go.
As I venture out to the small barn in the still dark hours of early morning, I am very excited about what I am about to attempt.  So much so, that I don't realize that it is only 19 degrees outside.  I get my grain all ready and I enter the barn to an eager Sadie and bawling kids.  She is ready for her breakfast and so are the kids.  Sadie quickly jumps up on the milk stand and puts her head in the hole.  I am not as fast as she is so she gets impatient with me. She doesn't understand that I have udder wash in one hand, my arm wrapped around a milk pail, grain in another hand, and a flashlight in my mouth.  First thing I realize, when my flashlight falls out of my mouth, is that I didn't move the hanging light to a good location for milking the goat.  Will definitely need to fix that.
Sadie is now eating her grain and I proceed to wash the udder.  All is well.  She does kick some but I expected that to happen.  This is when I realize I forgot my strip cup in the house.  Too late now.  Since this is the first milking ever for me and Sadie, I figure it's okay not to worry with the strip cup today.
Udder is washed.  Sadie is happily eating and I proceed to try and milk.  I read to use the thumb and fore finger to close off the teat and squeeze the milk out with my other fingers.  Easily read but a little harder to do.  I didn't realize it would be so hard to squeeze those small things.  After a little practice I have it down pretty good.  I get no milk for about 10 squeezes but I stay with it.  Suddenly I hear the sweet sound of milk hitting my pail!  How exciting!  I milk for a while and realize that my muscles are not use this type of exercise and it will take a while to get use to this.
Sadie is now starting to run out of grain.  I don't want to feed her too much grain so I decide to move on to the next teat.  She doesn't like the change and starts to kick. I am prepared for this and quickly move the milk pail saving me from having milk all over me.  I continue to try to milk her on the other side.  She still doesn't cooperate.  This side of the milk stand is against the barn wall and she finds comfort leaning against the wall and maybe this is why she doesn't want me to milk her on that side.  I still attempt to grab the teat but she does not cooperate.  I realize she is running out of grain.  The race is on!  Either I get milk now, I give her more grain, or I stop milking.  My mind is trying to decide what to do while my hand continues to try to milk Sadie on the other side.  Suddenly Sadie makes up my mind for me.  She quickly pulls her right leg up to the udder and swiftly stomps it down in the middle of the milk pail.  The milk is ruined (which is okay) and the goat is finished!  I have no success milking her on the right side today.
I remove my pail and let Sadie out of her milk stand.  I let the kids out of the stall and they quickly reach momma and finish the job for me.  I leave the barn with a feeling of accomplishment even though I only have a few ounces of dirty milk.  I go into the house and offer the milk to my husband but for some reason he refuses (maybe it was the hay floating on top).  I thought it would be good in his coffee!
Another wonderful start to a blessed day here at Far Better Farmstead!


  1. Oh me, our doe hasn't kidded yet and I am excited and nervous about milking her. I bet it will get to be second nature for you and for her soon.

  2. This year will be my first time with kids and milking. I am excited to start this adventure and am also nervous. I will be excited to read how your next milkings turn out.