Keeping an eye on things!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Goat milking 101

We have excellent milk goats. Until recently, I did not fully grasp the blessing of that statement. As a still budding farm-girl, everything I have learned on this farm has been through trial and error, and a few tips from the dozens of forums and blogs I follow. Watching with dread the videos of goat milking gone wrong, and observing the consequential jump in "goats for sale", I came to realize that through a little work and determination...we have excellent milk goats.

This face says it all. 

Until we purchased Lily, Petunia was in our minds, our only good milker. Rowdy, being half Boer, is a poor milker when in milk, (and her milk is less than palatable), but she still produces enough to keep the pigs and all the barn cats happy. 
Then came Lily.

Her giant udder and ridiculously easy temperament makes milking a joy. She can give a half gallon of milk in just under two minutes. As long as the grain hold out, she stands unflinching while she is being tugged and squeezed, massaged and nudged. Her milk is sweet, rich and the perfect fat ratio to produce a lovely chevre (soft cheese).  

Each of our goats have been taught to exit their barn stalls and beeline straight to the milking stanchion. They hop up on the platform, turn 180, and stick their heads through the holding gate to enjoy their morning grain. There was no trick to teaching them this accomplishment; As the saying goes "Build it and they will come". In this case, feed them and they will come! Learning to milk goats with proficiency...let's just say that took a little longer!  Now I am happy to say I can perform that feat with my eyes closed, or when the battery light in the barn dies and a flashlight has to suffice. So I figured why not share that knowledge? 

The three videos below are my version of goat milking 101. Lily was only too happy to volunteer for the lead role in this production, and you will see in the second video, Sparky the barn cat felt left out. So much so that he basically steals the show.  OK, Hollywood producer I am not, but if you can envision what is going on behind the cat, you will get the gist of it. Also, product placement was NOT part of the plan, but alas, every dairy product container becomes a food scoop in our re-purposed farm world. Therefore, the background is what it is. Enjoy!

The scabby goat knees in this next video cracks me up. Goats are adaptable, so where there is a fence, there is a way to crawl under it. Hence, scabby knees. Obviously she is so proud of her knees that she wants you to focus only on those while I am trying to vye for your attention in the background. I cannot even imagine how many outtakes the Discovery Channel must have on file. Creating video with animals involved is ridiculous.

That's a wrap!
Happy farming everyone.

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