Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats (Storey, 2018) by Jerry Belanger and Sara Thomson Bredesen educates beginner homesteaders on making smart decisions when it comes to raising dairy goats. From learning basic goat terms to keeping a happy and healthy herd, this guide will teach you everything you need to successfully raise your dairy goats at home. The following excerpt is their building plan to build your own folding goat-milking stand.
We’ve been using a folding, wall-mounted milking stand like this one for more than 40 years and highly recommend it. It’s more comfortable to use than the common bench style (without the seat), and the folding feature makes it a real space saver. It can be built in a couple of hours for less than 60 dollars.
If, like most homesteaders, you have a “treasure pile” of recycled lumber on hand, the only expense would be the hardware. Unlike most milking stands, this one consists of two parts: a platform for the goat with a seat for the milker and a stanchion to restrain the goat’s head and to hold a feed pan.
Important Note: The nominal size of the stand is 42 inches (1 meter) long by 15 inches (0.3 meters) wide, but the size can be adjusted to fit your goats or the materials you might have on hand. Also, recall that modern lumber dimensions don’t match the names. For example, a 1 × 6 board is actually 3/4 inch × 5-1/2 inch. Such details aren’t critical for this project.
1. Lay the two 1 × 8 × 42 inch floorboards side by side (rough side down, if you’re using rough lumber that has one side better than the other).
2. Place a 1 × 4 × 15 inch cleat 1-inch from each end of the floorboards, as shown.
3. Fasten the cleats to the floorboards with screws or nails, making sure they don’t extend through the floor. If nails protrude, bend them over and clinch them well.
4. Lay the 1 × 8 × 32 inch seat board on top of the platform so one corner protrudes beyond the platform by about an inch and the other side is flush with the cleat (see drawing). The angle of the seat isn’t of extreme importance, but this method yields a good angle for most milkers.
5. Mark the seat with a cutting line along the cleat as shown. Cut the seat board so it fits snugly against the cleat. Trim off the other scrap.
6. Round off the end of the seat, and secure it to the platform as you did the cleats.
7. Taper the legs as shown, if you wish, or leave them square. Note that one leg is longer than the other.
8. Fasten the 1 × 4 × 15 inch leg to the underside of the platform, next to the rear cleat, with a 4-inch T hinge.
9. Fasten the 1 × 4 × 14 inch leg near the end of the seat with the other T hinge, as shown.
1. Lay the two 1 × 6 × 46 inch boards about 4 inch apart, or so they line up with the width of the platform, minus 1-inch (if you have changed the platform dimensions, check this carefully, or the screw eye that holds the stanchion to the platform won’t line up properly. The 1-inch difference allows the stanchion to fold over the platform). For most goats a neck space in the stanchion of 3 1/2-inch to 4-inch (9 to 10 centimeters) is good.
2. Screw or nail two 1 × 4 × 14 inch cleats across the top and two across the bottom of the stanchion (you need two cleats for each end so the stanchion can fold over the platform when it’s not open for use).
3. Center and draw an 8-inch circle just below the top cleat. Cut out as shown.
4. Center, draw, and cut out a circle in the 3/4 × 14 × 14 inch board that will hold the feed pan. The size of the feed pan you intend to use will determine the size of the circle.
5. Attach the two 4-inch strap hinges to the top and bottom cleats, as shown.
6. Using two 3-inch strap hinges, hinge the feed-pan holder to the other side, about 22-inch from the bottom of the stanchion. Attach hinges to the underside of the feed-pan holder.
1. You’ll mount the platform to the wall first. Determine where the wall’s studs are, and space the hinges accordingly. Attach the two 5-inch strap hinges to the platform.
2. Ensure that the platform is level before attaching it to the wall. Rather than measuring the distance from the floor to the hinges or from the floor to the platform, get the platform reasonably level before marking where the hinges will be attached to the wall, as the floor might not be level. If the floor slopes away from the wall, for example, the hinges might need to be less than 15-inch from the floor.
3. Secure the platform’s hinges to the wall’s studs.
4. Mount the stanchion to the wall. Ensure that the top of the stanchion’s bottom cleat is snug with the underside of the platform for support. Also, be sure to leave a 1-inch space between the stanchion and the wall (you need this clearance in order to close the stanchion over the platform when the unit is folded; this is why the stanchion is 1-inch narrower than the platform). Screw the stanchion’s 4-inch strap hinges to the wall, ideally through a stud.
5. Check that the platform and stanchion open and close properly and are reasonably plumb, square, and level.
6. Install an eye hook to hold the platform and stanchion together when the stand is open for business. Then fold the stand and, using the same hook, install another screw eye to hold the stand folded.
7. Install an eye hook and screw eye to hold the feed-pan holder level.
Check the stud spacing in the wall before mounting the milking platform to it. Screwing the hinges to studs provides a more secure installation. You don’t want to attach the stand to drywall or plywood, for example.
Excerpted from Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats © by Jerry Belanger & Sara Thompson Bresden. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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