Milking is a simple skill, but you’ll need to practice. Practice is great if the goat is a patient one and you have plenty of time. Remember, a goat fills her udder twice a day, and with a full udder there is some urgency to empty it. If at all possible, practice on someone else’s goats—preferably someone who will both teach you and take over for you when you get tired.
The activity of milking uses muscles in your hands and forearms. These muscles don’t get much use in your daily activities, so your hands will get tired. To build up strength for milking, you can squeeze a small ball or a hand exerciser.
Think of the goat’s udder system generally as a balloon with valves that open under pressure. The openings are called the orifices, and one is found at the end of each teat. The average udder has two teats with one orifice each.
How to MilkEdit
Milking is actually pretty easy. Here’s how you do it:
- Close off the top of the teat between your straight thumb and the lowest knuckle of your index finger, where it connects to the body of the udder.
- Use a pinching action to close off the milk in the teat and keep it from returning to the reservoir of the udder.
- Once you’ve closed the milk in the teat, apply pressure with your other four fingers, squeezing the body of the teat, to squeeze the milk out of the orifice.
- Release the pinching finger so more milk flows down into the teat and repeat.
There’s a lot of variation in the size of both the teats and the orifices. Longer teats are easier to get a grip on, and larger orifices take less pressure to squeeze the milk from. The position of the teats on the udder floor also makes a difference. Teats that point straight down instead of outward make hitting a bucket easier.
These are all things to consider when choosing milk goats. If you’re a well-practiced milker, these things may not be an issue. But for beginners, less-than-ideal teat placement and small orifices will slow you down and might make it more difficult for you to learn.
You can practice the basic move ahead of time on a partially inflated balloon or rubber glove. Obviously, there are some differences, but you can get your hands used to the basic mechanical movement.
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