Equipment for Milking the Pygmy Doe
Maxine Kinne

Having the right tools of the trade make milking more pleasurable and preserve milk quality and udder health. Milking equipment must be kept very clean between uses, and it is best to let it air dry after it is washed. 

Equipment List

Milking stanchion (or facsimile)
Stainless steel container with smooth finish
Small water bucket for udder wash
Paper towels to wash and dry teats
Strip cup (or facsimile)
Teat dip
Milk filters & filtering equipment
Glass storage jars

Does are usually immobilized for milking. Clipping her collar to the wall can work, but a stanchion elevates her and makes make it more convenient for you. Reserve a separate place for milking, away from distractions that may bother either of you. You usually sit at the doe's side and face her rear, although some people prefer to bend over the doe to milk from behind. Sitting beside her gives you a lot of physical control. If she acts up, press your head and shoulder into her flank to keep her slightly off balance against the wall.

Warm water for washing teats can be hauled to the barn in a small bucket. In the winter I use a large bucket filled with 140o F water, and refill the water trough after milking. The goats really appreciate a nice, warm drink when it's cold. Water intake is important to milk production, so providing plenty of it helps maintain milk production. Water is the main component of milk.

A smooth-finish, stainless steel mixing bowl works very well for Pygmy goats. A one-gallon bowl fits under larger does, but a shorter bowl may be needed for shorter does. Slant-sided bowls are very unstable for milking. Bowls with vertical sides are hard to find, however a mirror-finish saucepan without the handle can work well. The height of the bowl should leave room for your hands and arms between it and the doe's undercarriage.

After spending the time and effort to milk, treat the milk right to preserve its quality. Warm milk is an excellent medium for bacterial growth, so it must be strained through a filter and refrigerated immediately. Milk filters are sold by the box. I have folded 61/2" filters into cone shapes to fit a funnel. I have also used a Busy Liz food strainer and 21/4" filters to fit (Caprine Supply catalog). Cheesecloth and other fabrics are too porous to for filtering milk.

Immediately after milking, pour the milk through the filter into a glass container and refrigerate. Glass jars are perfect, nonporous milk storage containers. Bacteria accumulate in the pores of plastic and make it smell bad. The small pores in plastic also makes it impossible to disinfect. If you have a milk jug manufacturer in your area, you may be able to buy gallon or half-gallon jugs and lids. These are made for single use, but I have bleached them between uses and got quite a lot more mileage out of them. At the time I used these, they cost about $0.16 each.

As soon as the milk is filtered and refrigerated, wash all the milking equipment and let it air dry upside-down in a dish drainer. Dish towels contaminate the equipment. The fussier you are about maintaining equipment in top shape, the better your milk will taste.

Related Reading

Pygmy Goat Milk
Good Milking Procedures
The Qualities of Pygmy Goat Milk

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