Once I knew we were going to get dairy goats I dove into the internet to find all the info I could on milking. I’d never milked before. Not cow, not goat, not sheep, nothin’. I found several really helpful tutorials and also youtube videos, though a lot of these were from such a distance that you really couldn’t tell what the actual “motion” was for getting the milk. One thing that I heard and read in various places was that you DO NOT PULL on the teat or udders. Hmmm… well, isn’t that how they do it in movies? Pretty sure I saw Donald Duck do that once. 😉
When we picked up Polly, our first goat, her owner was kind enough to demonstrate milking for us on her other goat. I actually got to try my hand at it, and voila! milk came squirting out! Granted it did not hit the bucket, but I’ve since learned that getting anything at all on the first try is a pretty big accomplishment. 😉
The key to milking is that you have to pinch then squeeze.
Think about the top of the teat, where it connects to the udder, and imagine that you need to close that completely off when you pinch. Because you do. If not, when you get to the squeeze part the milk will just go back up into the udder instead of down into the pail. It looks something like this.
See you can tell that there is milk trapped in the teat now! It looks like a little balloon.
Now you’re going to use your other fingers to squeeze the teat toward your palm and force the milk out. People use different techniques, based on what I’ve observed. Some have more of a wrist movement, I mostly use just fingers. I have big hands so that might make a difference.
From what I’ve read, and so I do, you don’t want to milk so that you are completely stripping the teat each time you squeeze, which means you don’t want to squeeze down to the very tip.
So far it’s working for me. My hands still ache sometimes, and I’ve noticed that I have to adjust my technique for each doe that I milk. But we’re getting milk and it’s yummy and wholesome, and I find milking to be fun! 🙂
(Kudos to Ace who let me take photos of her udder, though I think I forgot to have her sign a release to let me post them online. Shhhhh!) 😉