Learning how to milk a goat by hand involves using the proper equipment and procedures. It also involves a personal love for animals, especially the dairy doe, who so willingly shares her bounty with those who care for her.
Equipment needed to properly milk and care for the milking dairy goat includes the following items: a milking stand (optional), a milk bucket (stainless steel or enamel is best but any deep, clean container can be used), two cups (one for examining the milk prior to full milking, one for teat dip), a filter or strainer or clean cloth for straining the milk, a pan for pasteurization, a container for the milk, cool water to cool the milk rapidly, teat dip (may be two percent iodine or a solution of 50 percent bleach and 50 percent clean water), soap and water, clean clothes.
After making sure all the needed equipment is assembled and clean after having been washed with soap and water and air or sun dried, cover items not in use with a clean cloth.
Place some feed in a bucket or in the feed container attached to the milking stand. Wash your hands.
Bring the goat to the milking location and tie her or put her on the milking stand.
If the goat’s udder is dirty, wash it with soap and water and dry with a clean towel. If the goat’s udder is clean and free of manure and dirt, simply brush away loose hair and/or dirt.
Direct the first milk from each teat into a cup. Examine this milk for any stringy, lumpy milk, or blood in the milk. Do not use the milk if this occurs; it could be an indication of sickness or mastitis. Do milk out the udder and discard the milk, then ask a veterinarian for help/advice.
If the first milk is clear, clean and good, place the milk pail under the goat.
Grasp the teat with thumb and index finger together to trap the milk in the teat. Gently but firmly, bring pressure on the teat with a second finger forcing the milk down further. The third finger does the same and then the little finger.
Massage and gently bump the udder while milking and the doe will let down more milk.
Do not drag, pull or jerk down on the teat. Use a steady pressure and loosen finger grip before squeezing again.This allows the milk back down into the teat for the next squirt. It should take approximately five minutes to milk the doe. The udder will feel noticeably empty and no more milk can be expressed from the orifice (teat end) when finished.
After all milk is out of the udder, dip each teat in a teat cup with dip solution in it. Let the doe stand on the milk stand until the end of the teat is dry and then return her to her pen. This closes the orifice, preventing bacteria from entering the teats and udder which could cause future problems.
Try to milk the doe(s) twice daily, every morning and evening, on a regular schedule. Milking 12 hours apart is ideal and will help maximize production and limit stress on the udder, but this may vary according to personal schedules. It is important to record milk weights per milking as this can indicate health and value of the doe over a period of time.
Spend time getting to know and enjoying each doe on the milk stand and milking can become a special time for the goat as well as the owner.