It’s National Dairy Month!
Each June I try to bring you dairy related information, lists, and recipes as my way to celebrate to spread the love during National Dairy Month. This week, I am bestowing upon you the gift of the Dairy Goat Essentials List 😉
For more information about National Dairy Month, visit The Dairy Alliance. They will provide you with the history of this month’s theme, state dairy fact sheets, dairy themed coloring pages, and more!
Be sure to support our dairy farmers this month by making a few extra ice cream & milk purchases and take your kiddos to visit a local dairy if you have one close.
What Dairy Goat Essentials Do You Need Before Milking?
Milking a goat takes more than just a bucket and patience. There are several items that you need to have on hand to ensure healthy goats and quality milk. This list contains the supplies that you will need for the milking process. It does not currently include nutritional items, shelter, or medications.
Bag Balm or Udder Butter
This is important to keep your goat’s udder from drying and cracking. You can purchase a pre-made Bag Balm or Udder Butter OR you can make your own. I make my own bag balm with essential oils and it works wonderfully!
A Bucket or a Jar
This is probably the most important of the dairy goat essentials. You need a good bucket or your milk won’t ever make it from the barn to your kitchen. You will want to use a seamless Stainless Steel Pail or a glass jar to collect your goat’s milk. SEAMLESS is an important when you are choosing a milk bucket. If the bucket you milk into has seams, then milk and dirt can become trapped in the cracks and bacteria will grow. No one wants that :/
If you use a glass jar, please be careful. Glass can be a little risky because it can break if your goat begins to kick, but I have used jars before with out incident.
Teat Spray or Wipes
Your goat’s teats will need to be washed before and after each and every milking session. This cleans stray hairs and dirt off of the teats and udder and it helps to remove potentially harmful bacteria. If your regularly skip this step, but will end up with more debris in your milk and your goat may get mastitis more easily.
A Milk Filter
A milk filter is an important item to have when you are raising dairy animals. You will inevitably have some small debris in your milk at some point (it can be avoided most of the time, but not all of the time) so you will need to filter this out before consuming the milk. Some people use a filter that fits into their milk bucket. You can do that or filter the milk when you transfer from your bucket to a jar. I have used both a GoldTone Reusable Coffee Filter and a Stainless Steel Funnel with Filter for straining milk. Both work great, but I personally prefer the coffee filter.
Once every couple of blue moons you might find a dairy goat that will stand to be milked without a stand, but for the goats that aren’t as cooperative you will definitely need a stanchion. We built our own stanchion with pallets and scrap wood, but you can purchase a simple and affordable Goat Stanchion as well if you prefer. Please note that the one featured in this link does not have sides. If you goats are kickers, I suggest adding sides to it.)
A Hanging Feeder
You will need a Hanging Feeder to attach to the stanchion during your milking sessions. Putting a little grain or some treats in this feeder will make milking much easier.
A Strip cup
Use a Strip Cup with Screen or a solid black cup (I sometimes use a small, black, rubber feed pan) to “strip” each teat before milking. Squirt a little bit of milk into the cup or pan and examine it closely for signs of mastitis.
A Collar or A Halter
If your goats are in a large pasture, then it may be best to use a Goat Collar or a Goat Halter when you are bringing them to the barn for milking. Some goats will come when you call them, but more stubborn ones will need a little pull in the right direction.
A Lead Rope or A Leash
You can use a Lead Rope or Goat Leash to attach to the collar or halter that you are using. This makes the job of moving the goat from the pasture to the stanchion a little less physically exhausting and time consuming.
Some Yummy Treats
Always have some tasty treats on hand to reward your goats. This will increase the likelihood that they will repeat good behaviors in the future. My goats LOVE when I offer them a few BiteMe herbal goat treats and I don’t feel guilty after feeding them!
You will need some grain for your goats to munch on while they are on the stanchion during milking. Having feed available keeps them occupied so they aren’t as likely to try to kick you and the bucket away from them. Hay may work for your goats as well, but mine always do better with feed.
Hobbles if Needed
This one isn’t necessary if your goats are calm on the stand. However, if your goat is prone to kicking on the stand you might need to invest in a set of Hobbles to help her “kick” the habit. 😉
Are there any items that you would add to this list of Dairy Goat Essentials??
Keep track of your goat herd with this Goat Record Book.
You can also snag the entire Livestock Management Notebook here!
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