Yet another hard-learned lesson our homestead has taught me is that milking a goat is nowhere near as easy as it looks. Grab and squeeze, right? Yeah… No. Not even close. Especially when you start your herd with baby goats and no one really knows what they’re doing when the first freshening takes place. When you’ve spent over an hour wrestling with a new milker only to have her kick the bucket right out from under herself (and send a tidal wave of milk everywhere) there really is a good reason to cry over spilled milk.
After getting squirted square in the face for the third time while milking a new mama with two orifices on a single teat I decided it was time to get serious about a mechanical milker. I combed the Amazon reviews of small-scale milkers and decided on the Dansha Farms 1/2 gallon battery milking machine. I ordered the small teat cup assembly as well, since we raise mini goats. The entire thing plus optional extra teat cup was under $100.
Shipping was nice and fast, and the package arrived 5 days after placing the order. I was impressed with the care taken in wrapping each component in bubble wrap, and the instructional packet was a quick and easy read. The battery had to charge for 24hrs before first use, so the next day we put all the parts together and it was time to try this (milk) sucker out!
Assembly is easy and fast. The machine consists of a 1/2 gal glass mason jar, specially altered lid and metal ring to close the jar, hoses, two large syringes to serve as teat cups and rubber plugs to fit each size (for one-sided milking.) A small plastic battery pack and charger complete the setup.
We tried it first on our veteran milker, Alpine/Nubian cross Georgia. After securing her in the stand I popped the teat cups on, held the button down and milk immediately started flowing. I let up on the suction and just let things work for about thirty seconds. When the streams stopped, I added a bit more suction and then manually worked the hind sections of her udder. In under 5 minutes she was done, and didn’t bat an eyelash at the mechanical sound of the battery pack. I broke the suction by pressing above each teat cup and let Georgia out.
Then came the big tests, our two new moms. Flora and Cinnamon are both Alpine yearling first fresheners, Flora had a single doeling that she rejected and Cinnamon is raising a single buckling. The buckling, Nutmeg, refuses to nurse off one side so his poor mama ends up with a huge lopsided udder. While Flora readily comes into the milking pen from the doe pasture, Cinnamon has to be milked in her kidding pen. This has been a struggle; I have to collar her to the side of the pen and pin her with my shoulder while milking her with one hand and holding a jar with the other. Usually sweet as can be, Cinnamon hasn’t appreciated this. She knows her milk is for her baby and fights us tooth and nail (hoof?)
Surprisingly, Flora did well. The small teat cup assembly hooked right on despite her tiny teats. Once the milk started flowing we were able to stop suction and just sit back for awhile. The pump is equipped with an automatic stop for when the suction builds up too high, helpful to prevent teat injury. Anytime too much suction built we just let som off by pressing above the teat cup and it started right back up. It took under 5 minutes to milk her out as well, and this time I didn’t have cramping hands and milk in my eyes!
For Cinnamon, I plugged one teat cup with the supplied rubber plug. We set her up with grain and I managed to get the open cup hooked up. Then things went a little haywire; she kicked and bucked, convinced we were trying to starve Nutmeg, and disconnected the battery. I reconnected and went back to work. The milker enabled me to use one hand to pin her hip and one hand to comfort her. Once her hind milk had emptied and I’d stripped her teat she was good to go, with much less stress to her and quite a few less bruises to me. Not only was the milk not kicked over, the jar had never left the milking pail at my feet.
Everything comes apart really easily for cleaning. One valve needs to be hand-dried, and the milk jar can go in the dishwasher. I air-dry. The next day produced the same result, a quick and easy job that resulted in half a gallon of pristine milk for less than half the effort of hand-milking.
I definitely recommend this milker, and this company. They have a series of YouTube videos demonstrating their line of milkers and clearly stand behind their product. This milker would be too small for a large milking herd, but for my homestead herd it’s perfect and priced excellently. I’m kicking myself for not buying this years ago! I give it two non-cramping thumbs up.