If you happen to have or stumble upon a breast pump, you can simply alter it to milk smaller breeds of goat. On our farm, we raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats and during our first year freshening, hand milking became tiresome and time-consuming. This is our first year milking and we didn’t want to invest the cash if we didn’t know how well our girls and we would do. Hand milking was easy but with two does who dropped twins, it took a lot of time down in the barn with them. A year ago, we would have looked at friends and laughed at the thought of owning goats. Further into our Homesteading journey, we decided that we would try it in the hopes of becoming more sustainable. We got our two does and our herd sire. We decided to go with unregistered Nigerian Dwarfs because we do not need a huge amount of milk, but we have a smaller field that they would do well with. Later on, we acquired an unregistered mini Nubian, and two more unregistered Nigerian Dwarf does from strong milking lines. We do not plan on showing so registration was not a deal breaker for us.
Soon the day came when our does dropped two sets of twins. Two boys and two girls and milking began. I have a Medula Pump in Style in which we converted. Converting wasn’t hard at all. The Pump does have a pulse already on it and we made some minor adjustments. We took syringes and cut the tips off of them so that they could plug right into the breast pump. We put the backpack on our stall and ran a drop cord to our milking parlor. Bigger bottles are recommended because they filled the small 12oz bottles up to quick! If you only have smaller bottles available, you’ll need another container to pour your milk into. I like the bottles because you can cap them really quick and this helps with contaminants getting in the milk. It’s a more closed process. You’ll learn quickly what it should and should not look like. If your goat’s teats are changing color, also known as blanching, you need to turn it down or you risk injury to the teats. Always wash the doe’s udder beforehand and use an antiseptic dip after to avoid mastitis. The only alteration that we made to the breast pump was using syringes that were the same size at the connection instead of the Nipple shields that came with it. The 25ml syringe worked great for us. Pair the homemade milker with a DIY milking stand and you are all set!
Marissa Buchanan is the owner of Buchanan’s Barnyard, a mini-pig rescue and poultry conservation farm. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Read all of Marissa's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.