How to Milk a Goat

So you had babies, or are about to, right? Now you have to milk. It really, really helps to see it:

We're on baby goat watch here, and looking forward to the run of milk!



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Boy, I wish I'd had something like this before I had to deal with a colic emergency on my old mare! Nothing like necessity for learning! Thanks for the video.

Sharon or other commenters: anyone here in the U.S. ever looked into raising yaks? Husband and I will retire to a modest house on a fairly large but mountainous lot, a small piece of which is summer/fall pasture. (This won't happen for a dozen years or so, but we're forward-looking. Besides, at the glacial pace the building is moving, it may take a dozen years to build the house.) A couple of the things we've talked about doing is a) putting in a greenhouse, since at 7400 feet the growing season isn't very long; and b) raising some sort of animal for meat and fur. Neither of us is into dairying.

After considering goats, llamas, alpacas, and angora rabbits, he came across yaks. They're smaller than cattle, but big enough to fend off a cougar; they like the high-altitude climate and don't need to live in a barn in the winter (though they do need some overhead shelter and a windbreak); the wool supposedly has an artisan market; and the meat is supposedly tasty. We're going to order some meat from a yak farm in Colorado and test the last assertion. We're not talking a huge herd here; there's not enough grazing room. Just a few animals to shear in the summer and stock a freezer a couple of times a year. Have you heard of anyone doing this?

@Karen As a spinner, I can vouch for the market for yak wool. In fact, it almost always winds up blended with other wools because it's expensive. However, the yield for yak wool is much lower, since it's gathered by combing out the winter coat come spring. Most yaks only produce a few pounds a year. It's lovely to spin and makes gorgeous yarn, though.

Before my mother-in-law broke her knee, she kept goats. My husband's grandmother was living with her at the time, and having been raised on a dairy farm, knew what to do after the kids came along. They didn't get a lot of yield (these were pygmy goats), but it gave her great pleasure to milk those goats by hand. Strong woman. She passed away just last November. Whenever I see goat milk now, I think of her.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 20 Apr 2012 #permalink

Our kids are due mid-May and I can't wait. I'm almost out of the goat milk I froze last season to make my morning yogurt. And I'm almost out of the cheddar goat cheese I made. And I'm looking forward to ice cream (just a tad!) and carmel milk, panna dolce, etc etc etc. Plus, I love my goats. They've been in their summer pens and will soon be moved back to the milk barn for delivery and subsequent morning milking.

My goats are two Nigerian Dwarf goats - perfect for a small family and small enough for the grandkids to interact with. The first season when I milked them to capacity, I was getting almost one & a half gallons of milk a day - way too much, but these goats are "very dairy" as they say. Now its once a day milking and I keep them down to less than a gallon total.

Sharon, just thought you'd be interested to know- one of my long time friends had been quietly doing something, and I didn't have an inkling until I stumbled across a little info on the web. Actually, it's apparently his wife's main enterprise; though he puts in his full share of labor, in addition to his day job running a chef's supply warehouse-

They are now MILKING over 100 Icelandic sheep; virtually all of it going to long-aged artisan cheese.

I was floored! Imagine the work! The do hire help during the milk season; but otherwise manage the flock of over 140 animals with just the two of them. It's a tip-top spic and span business; ought to be profitable from the way it looks. Makes my 6 minus 1=5 Icelandics look pretty paltry! Though we are intending to expand our flock slowly, we're not contemplating that kind of thing.