couple of newbie milking questions

Discussion in 'Goats' started by MommaSasquatch, May 12, 2006.

  1. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    I posted a week or so ago about being in search of a doe in milk, and I'm happy to say she's here! We now have a sweet Alpine named Millie and her 2 month old daughter that we've decided to call Daisy.

    Now to the questions. I just got in from milking for my very first time. All in all I'd say it went pretty well, got about 1 1/2 qts from her and she only tried to put her foot in the milk once and I moved it in time. Hand milking wasn't as hard as I expected it to be. The books say that you should milk from the side but I can't figure out the best way to arrange things to do that. Right now I'm using a stainless steel stock pot in lieu of a proper pail (maybe gonna switch to something smaller tomorrow - suggestions welcome). I couldn't find a good place to put the pot where she wouldn't step in it so I set it just behind her back legs and milked from the rear sitting on the edge of the stand. How should I be arranging bucket/goat/me? We are milking on a milk stand dh built from plans we found online. It is plenty large as he made it a little bigger than what the specifications said.

    Next question - filtering. We have some 4 1/2 inch milk filters but not the special purpose doohickey to put them in. Any suggestions for something I can use or put together from my kitchen? Money's tight so we're improvising as much as possible. I was hoping someone else had figured out a tightwad's alternative. :D

    Thanks in advance. I've noticed that this forum seems pretty friendly/chatty so I'm looking forward to participating and learning.
     
  2. Alma

    Alma Active Member

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    I was a new milker once too, and for filtering I found a really nice solution was to use my Jam funnel in a large clean mason jar each one is a liter in size. I then lay a clean (they were cotton napkins very fine weave) cloth in the jam funnel and push it down well into it and then pour the milk in until the jar is nearly full then onto the next one. I usually have clean ones ready to take the fresh milk and then clean lids and put the rings on and straight into the coldest spot in the fridge. I have then fresh great tasting liters of milk my kids find easy to handle and pour onto their cereal. I always make sure it is put in the milk area on the door of the fridge and dated so no milk is there longer than the others. At peak times last year i switched to 1500mls bottles but the kids found them too big and heavy (fine for adults but not for small hands) So if you have a bunch of unused masons jars your in business if not I have also used just clean (and sterile) other glass jars that are easy to clean out. I always use my dishwasher when cleaning the jars and never had any problems and friends always comment on how good it tastes and never a goaty taste mostly maybe because I don't have bucks here or because of putting it directly into the cold!!I also leave all my new kids with their mothers and then when I decide to wean them I do one at a time and get into the habit of milking with one at a time and try to both get back into the routine of milking slowly as its take a certain kind of strength in the hands to milk and I have artritis in some of the joints . I'm looking forward to getting my first milk of 2006 in the next few weeks and I hope that I have helped in some way . Take care and happy milking days ahead I hope!! :angel:
     

  3. mammawof3

    mammawof3 Well-Known Member

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    Bear in mind-how she was used to being milked-by machine-and-from the rear-she will just have to get used to the new methods-it will be easier for YOU to milk her from the side-i sit on the stand, or on a bucket-on the does right side-use a big stainless steal bowl-alot of times they will step-if you accidentally squirt their leg-i put the bowl underneath the doe, right in front of her feet-it will work out!!
    As far as straining the milk-i use cheese cloth-put a funnel inside a gallon jar, with cheese cloth in it-keep that next to the stand, then dump into it between does-or you could dump into it if it looks like she may step-would save having to dump any. I then restrain the milk into quart jars and put in the sink w/ice cold water, stirring frequently till chilled good-then into the fridge. Enjoy them!! :)
     
  4. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Congrats on your new milkgoat! I would get her used to YOU being comfortable when you milk or you will end up wearing yourself out and straining your back or something. My milking stand is wide enough that i can sit on the edge of it quite comfortably and put my pail under the goat in front of her back feet. My "pail" is an old gallon sized stove-top coffee pot that is wide at the base and won't tip over. It has a handle on the side and if I see a fly buzzing around and I feel like the doe is fixing to kick, I can just grab it up out of the way easily and I never have to "cry over spilt milk". I filter my milk as I milk by placing a filtering cloth over the 'milkpail" and milking right through it. This also keeps an stray hairs or debris or bugs from dropping into my milk. It is already strained when i take it into the house. I have been using an old nighty cut into peices and bleached for my filter cloth. I will have to find some more good cloth though as that is getting used up. I bleach it out every day, and as time goes by, it starts falling apart from the bleach. I put my milk into pitchers and then right into the freezer and put on a timer til the milk is almost frozen. Then i take it out and put in the fridge. it is ice cold and very good. I always date my milk or keep track of how old each container is and use it up fast so the raw milk never ages. We rarely have milk that is more than a day or two old as it goes to some other use ....puppies, bottle goats, chickens, cooking, etc...we always drink cold, fresh, raw milk.....have fun!
     
  5. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I have an abundance of mason jars and I use them for everything so we're good on that count. Putting quart jars straight into the fridge seemed to chill them fast enough 'cause it tasted great this morning! A bit rich, but I suppose I'll get used to it. I'm used to skim milk from the store!

    I tried again milking from the side this morning but wound up switching to the rear about midway through because she was just so antsy and kept lifting her feet threatening to put them in the bowl. Yes, I tried a stainless mixing bowl and it was easier to aim into but I think I'm going to stick with the stock pot until she settles into the new routine a bit more. The higher sides are harder for her to get her feet over! So we'll go back to the pot and give her another try from the side this evening.

    Got the filtering thing worked out a little better too. I set a filter over the mouth of the jar and used my canning funnel to press it down into the mouth of the jar. If I leave it like that the milk makes a seal when I pour it in and no air can get out and it seeps up the sides of the filter and over the sides of the jar. So that didn't work. But when I took the filter out of the jar it was still kind of cup shaped so I just set it inside the funnel and voila! it worked fine. Not perfect but good 'nuff. If tightly woven fabric does an adequate job I'll switch when I run out of filters. I had heard that cheesecloth wasn't a good choice so that's why I hadn't tried it. I know my MIL used to use that back when they had a cow dairy but their milk always tasted yucky and a bit like cow barn so I didn't figure she was the person to ask. I don't know if it was the filtering or something else along the way that wasn't clean enough. They thought it was delicious but I could barely even stand it on cereal.
     
  6. goatmarm

    goatmarm Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you getting the hang of milking. I have two milkers at this time. One I milk from the side, the other I milk from behind with the bucket in front of her feet. You just have to figure out what is most comfortable for you and the doe. Each does' udder+teats are different, and what position might be comfortable for you to milk with one doe may be different from the next.
     
  7. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a designated milk funnel (only for milk) and then I use basket coffee filter in the funnel set on mason jar...

    Quarts go in the freezer for an 1 or so and 1/2gal goes in for about 2 hours without a lid...cap it when you remove from freezer to fridge....set the timer!!

    I have always used a stock pot for milking...or just milked into mason jars or old glass coffee pots from old coffee makers..

    I started milking in the rear but now I'm partial to the side style :shrug:

    I love to milk my girls....and they love to eat grain....its a lovely arraingement :p
     
  8. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    BTW, I use unscented babywipes to clean udders. They work great! I squirt a bit of milk out into the ground before i milk it into the pail to insure that no dirt or bacteria from the orifice is squirted into my pail. Some use a "strip cup" at the beginning of each milking. This is a small cup with a cloth over it where you can determine if there are clumps or clots or bloody strings in your milk prior to milking into your larger pail. I feel i know my milkers' udders so well that I don't often use one. If the udder has a problem, i know it. If I had a large number of milkers, i would consistently use a strip cup, or if I sold milk. I do not so it is just for house use, and again, i am very familiar with my goats. At the end of milking, i dip the teats in a weak solution of bleach water to prevent mastitis. This is refered to, of course, as a "teat dip". Different folks use different things, but this works fine for me and is cheap. As soon as you milk, the goat will often go and lay down and bacteria and stuff will go right into the newly opened orifices of the udder. This can cause very bad problems. having the udders just dipped in bleach water will prevent alot of problems. Too strong a solution will cause chapping. Right as i am fixing to dip the teat into the small glass jar teat dip, i say the word "cold" to the doe as not to surprise her. She usually squirms a bit but at least is not caught off guard. I do the same thing when i am fixing to put the baby wipes to her udder to clean prior to milking. She knows the word "cold" and doesn't freak when she feels it. In fact, she lets her milk down! Some always use a warm rag, i do not.
     
  9. noname

    noname Well-Known Member

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    I haven't been milking long either, but I milk mine from the side with the bucket in front of her back legs. We did have a couple of days of jumping around and a foot or two in the milk bucket, but they've gotten used to how I milk now. I do have to put a loose rope around my little one's belly - otherwise she forgets she's supposed to stand still.The rope seems to help remind her.

    When I got my goats I also got a tip from an experienced milker that has worked well for me - fill a small bottle with water, keep in in the freezer, and put this into your bucket when you go out to milk. Position your bucket so that most of the squirts hit the bottle on the way down. The milk is already chilled by the time you get back to the house, and if you do get distracted by animals getting loose or whatever it's not sitting there warm in the pail.

    I put a milk filter into a regualr funnel and strain my (already cold) milk into mason jars.
     
  10. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I like the tip about having a small bottle with ice in it in the milking pail. In the winter I don't have a problem (I can set the jars of milk outside in the snow while I finish milking), but it's getting warmer now, and by the time I've milked four goats, some of the milk has been standing for half an hour. (I strain milk into jars on the top shelf I built above my milking stand, so it isn't sitting with bits of dirt and hair in it, at least.)

    Kathleen
     
  11. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you ever seen a wine bottle chiller? You put the wine bottle in a bucket and cold water is circulated around it and in a minute the wine is very cold.

    My husband built a larger one for the milk room. I put my milk tote into the bucket with circulating water and put my filter on top then a lid. After I milk my doe I filter her milk into the tote and it is instantly chilled. Right now I am milking three does and by the time I clean up after the last one my milk is about 38*!
     
  12. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    The baby wipe trick is working AWESOME! Thanks for that. We always have them on hand anyway 'cause they're just so doggone handy. I think I've decided to stick with milking from the rear cause I don't have to reach so far underneath her that way. It's going good now. Every milking it gets easier. I was done in 15 minutes today!

    The newest lesson is that I need to pen her baby up while milking! Sounds obvious but it didn't occur to me before. She wants to nurse when I'm milking and keeps getting in the way, trying to munch my hair, and generally making trouble. Managed to spill a big part of this evening's milk due to her antics. I've got an indoor/outdoor playpen type thingy so I think I'm going to set that up near the milk stand and stick her in there so she doesn't make such a nuisance of herself at milking time. My kids (human) never liked it anyway so may as well use it for the goats.

    Interesting everyone's ideas for cooling the milk quickly! I'll have to keep those in mind for when we have more than one doe in milk. I especially like the frozen bottle of water idea. Sounds like a nice low-tech minimum fuss way of doing things. For now filtering as soon as I get in the house and putting it straight into the fridge seems to do the job just fine.
     
  13. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I've got eight kids who like to pig-pile me if they can get away with it (mostly bottle babies). One is still too small to jump out of the baby pen (it only has 30" high sides, so they can usually jump out by the time they are three weeks old). What I had to start doing was tying them all up, far enough apart that they can't tangle each other up (it hasn't been raining lately, so I tie them around the outside pen). It only took a few minutes for them to discover that they couldn't get away from the tied spot -- haven't had any problems with them fighting to the point of breaking their necks like horses will do sometimes. But you do need to keep an eye on them, and not leave them that way unattended.

    Kathleen