A Getting Ready to Milk Guide: Dairy Goats

This Guide is about getting you ready to actually milk, what you want to purchase
and what I've learned I LIKE to use. 

You may end up with different preferences as you learn.

** First, you want a healthy, quality nice Dairy doe (Or Two!)

There is no way around this. No substitution. 
My recommendation is buy the best you possibly can, save
for awhile if needed. A healthy, quality does will generally
not be priced under $400.  Many will be far more. This is well
worth the investment. Production, length of lactation,
value of future kids, ability to produce kids each year for ten years
while milking 10 months out of 12, CAE free status and an udder that
stays where it belongs. . .THAT is priceless. Do not skimp here. 

**Second, a high quality 16% Goat Ration, loose minerals and great Hay

Dairy goats must have grain to produce milk and stay healthy. Think of them as athletes. Hard working
livestock with high needs. They require a 16% goat ration twice a day in milk. We feed about 3 lbs per doe
twice a day. They have access to all the browse (brush, brambles, weeds, which goats love) and hay they wish 24/7. They have free choice, high quality minerals (we use Cargill Right NOW Onyx) 24/7, as well.

** Third, Next you want a Steel Stanchion / Milk Stand

I really dislike wooden stands. They are hard to clean, though a lot cheaper.
I started with wood and quickly went to Metal. You can
buy this stand above on Hoegger, but you can find them more economically
priced used on craistlist or new on ebay.

** Fourth, a few stainless steel pails

I order mine for the best price on Jeffers Livestock Supply
in the 6 qt or larger size. Do not use plastic buckets
or galvanized. You only seamless stainless steel or even glass jars work
if you're milking mini Dairy breeds. 
Do not look at milking machines unless you're milking over 6 does. It is quicker
and far easier to milk by hand with a small herd.

Another of my favorite pails, though pricey, is this one from Hoegger
and if you need a pail larger than 6 quarts, which you will if you're milking more than two,
I suggest Hoegger's 13 qt pail and lid.

** Fifth,  a covering over the pail for when you milk

These are paint strainers with elastic.  You can purchase these at Lowes in the Paint Section for a few bucks for two. They work great with their super
small mesh at keeping everything out of your milk! Alternatives, which I haven't been happy with are
cheese close and a rubber band or a splatter screen shaped around the bucket top.

** Sixth, Baby Wipes and paper towels

I use a baby wipes to wipe off the udder and a  paper towel
to dry before milking the doe. You can use a damp wash cloth with a mild soap
and a dry cloth, as well. The wipes just work very well. I opt for sensitive, no scent types.

** Seventh,  Teat dip cup and Solution

After milking, you will use a teat cup, like the above, and a solution to briefly hold onto the 
teat to help prevent mastitis. The best price because of the gallon jugs the dip comes in is to buy this at
your local feedstore. Ask them to order it, if needed. I get the above at Tractor Supply. The teat cups
are on Jeffers or Hoegger. 

**Eight, Stainless steel milk strainer with filters

These are both offered on Hoeggers. You can look around for 
the strainers used, as well. 

** Ninth, Glass Jars

You can use plastic 1 gallon pitchers, but Goat's milk is fragile 
and slight mistakes make the taste off. I prefer glass. I use these 1/2 gallon
glass jars. They are perfect, and you can write the milked date on the top with tape to know
keep times. Put the strained milk in the glass, put in the freezer for about an hour as quick
as you can after milking the doe and then put into the fridge!