Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
When I was younger, I often thought of the many esteemed writing topics that would accumulate in my portfolio. I have to admit, a blog about teat dip was not among them. Yet, teat dip is an important topic for owners of dairy goats. In this world of commercialized dairy, navigating aisles of premixed dip solutions can become quite the frustration. Fortunately, it takes just a few simple ingredients to make a naturally disinfecting solution.
First of all, using teat dip is a critical step in the milking process. Bacteria can easily enter the teat orifice after milking and cause mastitis. Spraying or dipping each teat into a disinfecting solution not only sanitizes the area, but it also closes up the orifices to prevent the introduction of bacteria into the udder. I always begin every milking by cleansing the udder with soap and water (natural baby wipes work, as well) and end with a sanitizing dip or spray.
Generally, I prefer to do everything on our farm as naturally as possible. This is especially true when dealing directly with raw milk; I do not want polyethylene glycol (one of the many ingredients in commercial teat dip solutions) finding its way into my bowl of oatmeal! Because of this, I stick with some basic ingredients and make my own teat dip at home. The following formula was suggested to me by the farm that sold us our first milking goat:
Teat Dip Solution
1 part water
1 part rubbing alcohol
5-10 drops tea tree oil
Note: I have not used this recipe on a goat that is nursing a kid. I do not know how a kid might react to the rather strong taste of tea tree oil if it tries nursing soon after application.
For application, I prefer to use a spray bottle. This is mostly because my doe is not fond of the dipping process. She instead delights in throwing ninja kicks at my teat dip bottle, spilling its entire contents on a regular basis. Also, I prefer spraying because it reaches a larger surface area. Usually, 3-4 good squirts sufficiently saturates her udder and teats. It is also important to keep the spray nozzle clean and unclogged. A gunky sprayer will do little to produce an immaculate udder!
Being the efficient little homesteading housewife that I am, I like to find multiple uses for household items. Yes, this includes teat dip. I have a tendency to apply this disinfecting spray to the many cuts incurred by our country-bred children. Also, I periodically spray the solution over our milking stand (after scrubbing with soap and water) to keep the area nice and clean.
I am currently researching various methods of natural parasite control. If any of my readers have recipes they use for a natural de-wormer or techniques they find helpful in parasite prevention, please feel free to share your ideas!