I have a few blog posts to publish about the farm duties. This one surrounds the milking process.
In the photo, left to right is udder wash, dish soap, bleach, the milk bucket with inflators, the Fight Bac spray, clean towels and rags, and the milk buckets to carry the milk back up to the house (or place in the barn refrigerator if I have chores to run before returning to the house).
In the photo, above the milk bucket are the PVC pipes, pressure guage, etc.., for the milk machine itself. The milk machine is a very old Surge model, not pictured. It is located on the other side the room. I actually have two machines, one as a back up. My husband ran vacuum lines around the room so that I would not have to deal with the machine running on the milking side of things. I love to hear the old machine run, by the way! I check the oil once a year, always at a good level. The belt has been in good shape for a long time. It just plugs away. I am afraid I might jinx myself if I say more.
I generally have 11 girls in milk. Right now I have 7. I use a machine because it speeds the process up, and because I have carpel tunnel syndrome. Milking out one single doe by hand is a struggle, but a very peaceful task for me.
Milking should be done at a set time each day. I milk twice a day. My milkings are not spaced 12 hours apart, but they are consistently done within the same 30-45 minutes. If a milk schedule is off, even by a few hours, and even on one day, the does can, and probably will, based on my experience, begin to produce less milk. The hormones in the body say, "Hey, we are not so needed any more, lets shut this milk stand down!" Well, something like that. :)
My girls normally line up outside of the milk room door. Each year we fall into a pattern, and the goats pick up on it. They know the order in which they come into the door, and usually I do not have to call a single name to get them to do what they need to do. Goats like patterns and are not very easy to deal with when things are amiss.
Milking involves (the short list):
-Cleaning and drying the udder (clean towels to wash, clean towels to dry each udder with)
-Milking (but not completely stripping out, to prevent mastitis)
-Treating the teats after each milking (mastitis prevention)
-Pouring the milk into the milk cans for transportation
-Scrubbing the empty milk bucket with a brush and running sanitizer and water, several times, through the hoses, inflators and the bucket
Milk handling (the short list):
-Cool the milk as soon as possible (never leave it sit warm, unless pasteurizing immediately)
-Filtering the milk
-Pasteurizing (and I have drank it raw, filtered and chilled immediately, a real treat)
-Cooling the milk again. I cool my milk in the freezer to ensure it cools as soon as possible. Using an ice bath is very helpful as well. Licensed dairy's are required to chill the milk to a certain temperature in a very short period of time. I am not licensed as a dairy (the soap company is), therefore I cannot sell my milk to anyone, but I do my best to keep the milk as fresh as possible for bottling and/or freezing. Milk can be kept frozen for up to one year.
I hope you enjoyed the visit. Next I am going to provide a farm journal of sorts, shortened version.