For the last couple of years, I have hand milked our goats. A machine seemed frivolous when our girls only give us about half gallon of milk at a time. It was about $175 that I felt wasn’t necessary to spend right then. But we have issues with consistency on our farm, which I will explain further down. This leads to goats not being milked out effectively or routinely. So I bought a goat milking machine and here’s what I think so far.
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Our Homestead Milkers
As of this writing, I have three girls in milk and by the end of the day I have about half to three quarters of a gallon of milk. Jade and Bailey are the stars this go around, while Bella is struggling to give me even a half cup. While that’s not a lot of milk, it is plenty for fresh drinking and bottling the twins below.
There are a lot of reasons that we decided to go ahead and buy a machine. By the end of the milking, my hands are shot. I’ve got psoriatic arthritis in my right hand, specifically my ring and pinky fingers. While it doesn’t usually stop me from milking, it does hurt.
Jared and I work 24 hour shifts. I milk the morning of work and then Jared milks the evening and morning before he goes to work. Then I milk the evening I get home, the next morning and evening, then the next morning again. When I milk, I can usually pull about a quart each of both Bailey and Jade. Jared is lucky to get a pint combined.
The boys needing to milk. Sometimes we need the boys to milk. While this doesn’t happen a lot, it does happen. Since they don’t do it that often, the girls don’t like to sit for them. This creates a lot of stress for them because usually I have to go down there anyways and milk them to give them some relief.
Stress On The Girls
One of the biggest issues with the human error above, is that there is very little consistency. Well, there’s actually a lot of consistency, but it’s a long game. There is no daily consistency. Because of this, the girls just don’t let their milk down for Jared or the boys.
Here in just a few weeks, we are going to have another girl in the rotation for milking. This is going to add another round of milking that my hands may not tolerate or that Jared will have to try and milk.
We are looking to streamline the process in hopes that we are consistently getting a half gallon a day out of all the girls, regardless of who milks them.
The Goat Milking Machine Review
Now to the meat and potatoes. This is going to be an ongoing review because we are still very new to this machine and so are the girls.
Jade kicked once and Bailey didn’t care at all. The suction was a little difficult to get dialed in but did work pretty well. Both girls milked almost completely out within about 2 minutes. We did have to finish them off by hand, but there was maybe a quarter cup for each girl left in the teats.
Cleaning is a little bit of a hassle but not terrible. After talking to several goat owners, they suggested this method. Fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and used the machine to suck everything through. Then rinse the bucket, hoses and teat cups, and run warm water through everything. This worked pretty well and I would imagine that there is a need to pull everything apart once a week, or milking and do a thorough scrubbing. But we’ll see.
The milk was easy to get out and everything is clean now. For goats giving small amounts of milk, I don’t know that a goat milking machine would be worth it. If your hands aren’t arthritic, you only have one goat, they aren’t producing gallons a day, etc. Then hand milking may be a better option. But when you’ve got several girls to get through, or they produce a lot of milk? I think the machine is definitely a good investment. Especially with a smaller price tag like $175 ish dollars.
There is a learning curve to this machine and the little stickers on the hoses will come off, but if you can work around those things? I think it’s worth it.
Updating This Post
I will come back in a week, month, year, etc and keep doing updates because while reviews are awesome, I want to know about the longevity of something. So keep checking back!
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