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Goats are generally friendly animals that are easy to keep. Apart from meat, skin, and fibers, goats are also famous for milk production. Goat milking is quickly advancing; a while before, people used goat milk to produce goat cheese; nowadays, goat milk itself is a delicacy.
Research shows that goat milk has many nutritional benefits, and it's a good substitute for people who are allergic to cow milk. Two goats can produce enough milk to furnish a family year-round, and farmers can use the surplus milk to create butter, cheese, or food for the younger animals. Goats are generally healthy, and with proper care, goats are pretty affordable to rear.
Innovation and adoption of new technologies in large-scale dairy goat farming have prompted the improvement of indigenous goats. It can be cumbersome to milk more than a hundred goats daily, especially if you don't have the workforce. Getting the crew required to milk goats in large-scale farming can be expensive and harmful to the goat if not done carefully.
But there is a workaround to this task that is both efficient and safe. Technological advancements have made it easier and faster to mass produce goat milk by inventing the goat milking machine.
Before we get to all that there is to know about milking machines for goats, you need to understand why goat milk is a precious commodity.
Some Benefits of Goat Milk
Here are some of the health and nutritional benefits of goat milk:
This is just the outline of the benefits goat milk can offer you; there is still more in store regarding its nutritional value. With that in mind, if you decide to rear a dairy goat, ascertain the animal is free of diseases and have it tested by your local veterinarian.
How Does a Goat Milking Machine Work?
Don’t worry; we got your back for those who have not yet experienced using a milking machine. Milking machines extract the milk by inducing a vacuum-like environment on the teat area while connected. It is designed to continuously apply a vacuum to the end of the animal’s teat.
The machine will gently squeeze the teat at regular intervals to ensure that it regains complete blood circulation. Since the whole teat is not subjected to the vacuum, a stable flow of milk is achievable. After a while, the machine will let the teat rest by allowing the air in to stop the vacuum created.
Step by step guide on how a goat milking machine works
The valve controls the liners to make tight seals between the milk hose and the teats. The pulsator will create a vacuum in the pulsation chamber (a section between the outer shell and the liner). Once the vacuum pressure between the pulsating chamber and the milk hose equalizes, the liner will open up and expose the teat to the vacuum created in the hose tube.
Milk will then start flowing, after which the pulsator releases the vacuum allowing air into the liner. Since the pressure in the chamber is now greater than in the milk hose, the liner will collapse and get a tight grip on the teat creating a massaging motion. By massaging the teat, blood circulation is allowed. In most cases, the pulsator will work at 60 cycles in a minute.
Milk from the teats mix at the claws where the cups and the hose meet. The milk then runs through a long hose to be collected in a jar to release any trapped air.
Some modern goat milking machines are designed to identify if the udder is empty so that they can switch off. Different milking machines have different meter types. Because of this, some milking machines can detect when milk from the teat starts flowing slowly, and they automatically switch off.
According to research conducted by the resource center of Chicago, dairy goats are habitual animals; therefore, changing routines like switching from hand-milking to machine milking can affect the rate of production. However, when the herd grows, it becomes necessary to own a milking machine. Over time the goats will grow into it, and output will be back to normal, if not better.
How to Milk a Goat with a Machine?
Milking a goat using a machine is not rocket science, but it takes practice to do it perfectly without hurting the animal. Provided below is a guide on how to perform machine milking:
- 1Before beginning, ensure you disinfect and sanitize the milking machine using a disinfectant or any other solution that you would prefer. You can check our post on essential hygiene products that can be useful on a dairy farm
- 2It is recommended to do fore stripping of each teat by ejecting some milk on a strip cup (not on hand!) to check for clots, blood or any other abnormality in the milk. After that connect the liners to the goats’ teats, turn on the machine, and check if the vacuum is established correctly. If not appropriately connected, the device might harm the doe or lead to mastitis.
- 3Secure the doe in the milk stand by giving the animal something to graze on.
- 4Clean the teat of the doe using a sanitizing wipe or warm water and soap. Then ensure you dry the udders before connecting the machine.
- 5Remove the machine when the milk volume starts reducing.
- 6Hand-milking the last parts is not a bad idea if you don’t have an machine that can switch itself off automatically.
- 7After milking is done, clean the animal’s teat by spraying or using a sanitizer of your choice. Also, take this time to ensure you clean the milking machine according to the manufacturing company’s instructions.
- 8Return the animal to the herd. Provide some fresh hay and water right after milking. It’s better to leave the animal eating than let it lie down and expose its teat orifice to ground bacteria. The orifice takes a short time to seal, which might help safeguard the doe from getting mastitis.
How Often Should You Milk Your Goat?
Typically, it would be best if you milked your goats regularly every 12 hours during milking periods. Generally, milking a goat should begin shortly after the doe has given birth. On the first week after delivery, the doe produces yellowish milk called colostrum, which contains necessary antibodies for the kid. This milk should only be used to feed the young ones.
During this period, milk your goat twice a day to stimulate the goat to produce an ample milk supply without allowing the udder to fill. Farmers can preserve the extra milk for bottle feeding the young ones. According to FiascoFarming.com, if you consider letting your Does nurse their young ones, you should separate them from their mothers at night, enabling you to milk your doe twice a day.
Goats produce milk during the lactation cycle, which typically is ten months after kidding. However, the length of lactation and milk produced depends on breed, health, age, and nutrition.
The author of milk that goat known as Ekarius stated on Dairying 101 (goat magazine) that high producers can produce about four Quarts of milk daily for as long as 10 months. At the same time, low producers can give as little as two quarts a day for about six months.
It is advisable to dry your doe for two months before kidding, gradually reducing the number of milking sessions in a period of fourteen days.
How to Choose the Best Milking Machine for Goats
Picking the best milking machine for goats that fits your needs is hard. To make it simpler for you, we have provided some of the best the market has to offer. The list that has been provided features models with simple design, efficiency, and ease of use. Before picking a goat milking machine, you need to consider that the design and materials implemented are safe for animal use.
Factors to consider before buying a Goat milking machine
Does your budget meet your needs?
Cost, cost, cost! This is another factor to consider when purchasing a milking machine. First, think if you are doing large-scale goat milking. Then the other pieces fall into place. For instance, commercial goat milking machines tend to be more expensive than small-scale ones.
High-end models have more features making them more costly compared to lower-end models. Depending on your needs, you might not need a high-end model unless you focus on large-scale farming.
Are there available parts to replace?
Most goat milking machines models have replaceable parts that you can order or personally acquire from their stores. However, generic components like the hose, milking cups, and tubes are readily available in many shops.
For electrical circuitry-related parts, it is recommended to get OEM parts or from a known brand. If you opt for third-party components, check the compatibility with the model of your machine.
Does it have an Automatic Turn Off (ATO) system?
Some modern-day milking machines have an automatic turn-off system once they sense the decline in milk flow. This is especially helpful for farmers who have to run different errands across the farm since they can leave the machine to do its work and continue with their tasks.
Does it make lots of noise?
Depending on the type of machine you choose, the noise levels will differ compared to other models. Look for the model that does not make much noise since it will scare the goats. Studies show that the animal might not produce as much milk as intended, cutting your average milk production.
Is it durable and easy to clean?
Another vital aspect you should consider in a goat milking machine is its durability. Nobody would like to spend money on something that will break or stop working after a short time. It's better to look for something durable, even if that costs you a little more.
A cleaned and well-maintained goat milking machine is vital for dairy products. Check if the parts are easy to strip and assemble. A goat milking machine that is easy to clean will save you valuable time. Always follow the user manual before using any cleaning solution on the machine.
Here is a list of some of the best goat milking machines that are performing well in the market with positive user experience.
Goat Milking Machine by Dansha Farms
This model features a portable design and ease of use. It features a battery-powered vacuum that is rechargeable. It's suitable for milking goats and cows or sheep, and since it's portable, it can be moved or transported from point A to B quickly.
The unit contains a ½ gallon bottle, including two teat cups. The model comes with six rechargeable NI-Cad size AA-type batteries. You can see it's designed to be portable and last long without charge. It supports plugins to any 120-volt power outlet for charging. The sealing system ensures that milk stays clean.
Disumos 5L Electric Milking Machine for Goats
There is no better choice for a fast, safe and durable goat milking machine than this model. The electrical impulse feature will cut the milking time compared to hand milk a goat by nearly half.
It comes with 5L stainless steel bucket which is easy to clean. Overall the design of this milking machine is very practical.
SKYTOU 7L Mini Household Electric Milking Machine
This is a very versatile milking machine that is also capable of milking cattle or sheep. Manufacturer has declared that the suction speed has been increased three times in this model.
To further emphasize on saving time and increasing efficiency, it has thicker tubes to accommodate the passage of more milk. The thickness of the pipes also makes it easier to clean using a brush.
The milker bottle is made out of stainless steel, which is durable and easy to clean.
You can find a more comprehensive list of milking machines here with details and helpful tips.
When choosing a goat milking machine that will be comfortable for you and your herd, it is important to consider some key factors that have been listed in this article. Goat milking can be fun if done the right way and could even be profitable for commercial purposes. Just make sure that you invest in the right tools and equipment for your dairy farm.