The Easy Way to Milk Goats


In the days following the recent massive flooding in West Virginia, I was milking goats the hard way, by hand with a flashlight in the barn. To call that process challenging would be tantamount to calling the rain we had here on June 22 a light sprinkle. Boy, did I ever miss my goat bucket milker! But, without power (the generator was being used to run fridges and freezers at the house) and also no water other than bottled water, using the machine wasn’t possible. It was nine days before we got our water back, and without water, I wouldn’t be able to wash the equipment even if I brought the generator to the barn. I turned the cows out with their calves on the day of the flood, but I had to keep milking the goats. Valentina, considering what will happen to the milk maid if she doesn’t get her breakfast just because the milk maid doesn’t want to hand milk.
As soon as we got water back, I was so happy to be able to go back to the machine. I’m still not milking cows right now–the fencing where I separate cows and calves for milking was swept away by the flood. I can’t milk cows until the fencing is rebuilt. But back to goats!
Previous to getting a dedicated goat bucket milker, I milked the goats using a goat conversion kit for my old Surge bucket milker. That works, but the Surge is really built for milking cows. I’m often surprised to discover when talking to people at workshops that not everyone realizes that cows have four teats while goats only have two. The conversion kit for the Surge provides shutoffs for two of the milk lines and two of the vacuum lines, but it’s still a bit cumbersome. A bucket milker constructed specifically for goats is so incredibly convenient (for me) and comfortable (for Valentina).
You can find the bucket milker I’m using at Hamby Dairy Supply. Let me tell you a little about it, and then Valentina will show it to you.
It’s light. Very light. This is hugely important to me. It is, of course, Grade A and FDA approved for raw milk, all the lines, bucket, etc, but what is truly neat is the goat milking claw. The inflations (goat inflations are shorter than cow inflations, since there’s less room under the animal) include semi automatic shutoffs.
This means as soon as the teat enters the liner, the valves open, and as soon as the teat leaves, the valves close. This makes less work (you know, for me, the milk maid). Plus, if you were to drop the inflation (or a naughty goat kicked it off), it would close automatically, avoiding intake of dirt. I really like the clear lid, too, because it makes it easy to look into the bucket and see what’s going on.
It works very efficiently, and I’ve found since using this milker that I get more milk out of my goats than I did when I was using the Surge conversion. It’s also easy and fast to put together, and take back apart. For my setup here, I put it together in the studio kitchen, set it in a wagon to pull to the barn, then take it into the milking parlor where I hook it up to the vacuum pump–then back again to the studio.
You can see it in use in the video here. (Along with some gratuitous video of the hen who has baby chicks running around the barn yard.)

Happy milking!
And I’m pretty sure that’s Valentina’s happy face!

Comments Leave a Comment
Share: |    Subscribe to my feed Subscribe
Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 12, 2016  

More posts you might enjoy:

Sign up for the Chickens in the Road Newsletter


3 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 7-13

    Hello Suzanne, I am so glad to see a new post, You and the farm have been in my thoughts everyday, hopefully in time things will get back to normal if that is possible. We forget how difficult it can be to try to run a farm in conditions like those you have been facing. Time and hard work help, but repairs are costly. I hope that repairing your fencing and waterway will get things back on an even plane for you again.
    Glad you are back, we all have missed you.

  2. 7-14

    Machines make things so much easier. I didn’t know goats only have two teats.

  3. 7-15

    Valentina is a beautiful goat.

Leave a Reply

Registration is required to leave a comment on this site. You may register here. (You can use this same username on the forum as well.) Already registered? Login here.

Discussion is encouraged, and differing opinions are welcome. However, please don't say anything your grandmother would be ashamed to read. If you see an objectionable comment, you may flag it for moderation. If you write an objectionable comment, be aware that it may be flagged--and deleted. I'm glad you're here. Welcome to our community!

Daily Farm

If you would like to help support the overhead costs of this website, you may donate. Thank you!

Sign up for the
Chickens in the Road Newsletter

The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

Today on Chickens in the Road

Join the Community in the Forum

Search This Blog


August 2020

Out My Window

I Love Your Comments

I Have a Cow

And she's ornery. Read my barnyard stories!

Entire Contents © Copyright 2004-2020 Chickens in the Road, Inc.
Text and photographs may not be published, broadcast, redistributed or aggregated without express permission. Thank you.

Privacy Policy, Disclosure, Disclaimer, and Terms of Use