Yesterday, was a test run for our first milking day. It was cut short by Aubrey needing to be taken to the urgent care for stitches. Today was our first real milking. Yesterday was a test run due to having dewormed the goats a few days ago. I like to give at least a three day waiting/holding period if I have to use a chemical dewormer. I would have just waited until today for our first milking, but I noticed that Lily was lying down constantly, in an effort to keep her kids off of her. She was one of our two goats that had triplets. Having only 2 teats, but three babies...well lets just say she's already "done" with the nursing thing :-) Not entirely mind you, but I was afraid that we could see a huge drop in her milk production if I didn't hop right to it the very next day.
So today was the day. I had anticipated that there would be two of us helping out on the milking for the first few days until everyone was used to the routine. But I had forgotten that the older two girls were to be at the horse barn early this morning. So it was just me. Things went smoothly. Thankfully!
I will be making a video of our milking routine soon. I want to make sure we have it down before I do. There are some tweaks that will be made I am sure. I had been debating whether to bring out a cooler with me to put the milk right into since we have 5 goats needing to be milked. But yesterday when we got to the first Nigerian, it was a 'duh' moment as we realized that our regular sized milking pail is too big to fit under a Nigerian dwarf goat! I was better prepared today. I decided against the cooler idea. I may change my mind in the future but I really don't want to try to get a cooler across our dirt yard, and through a gate. Plus when I have to pour out the water I would have to pull the cooler to a place that can handle the water....not in the back! Instead I decided to take out the large milking pail. I milked our first two Alpines, brought their milk in, strained it and put it in an ice bath (in my kitchen sink). I then brought out a small metal mixing bowl. I milked Pippi, our smaller Alpine, into the bowl and dumped her milk into a quart jar. She had just a little over a quart so I gave the leftovers to the cat. I separated her milk because last year it tasted horrid and I wanted to check it before I combined it with any other milk.
Next I milked the Nigerians. That was like learning to milk a goat all over again! They have very, very small teats. With our Alpines I need to use my whole hand to express the milk, but with the dwarfs I only needed a thumb and first finger! This will take some getting used to.
I am not sure how long it took me to milk all five. I suppose I will time myself after I feel that I can remember all that needs to be done without thinking too hard :-)
After the milk had cooled for a few hours it was time to taste it! I was nervous. I wasn't concerned with Lily and Honey's milk. This is their fourth year milking, so I was pretty sure it would taste as good as ever. I had forgotten to mark the quart jars, one had Pippi's milk, the other contained the combined dwarf milkings. The girls asked how would we know which is which. Well, unfortunately we found out :-( Pippi's milk is HORRID. Yuck, ick, bleh. I was really bummed. The dwarf milk tasted sweeter (supposedly due to their higher fat content), but also more watery in texture, which I wasn't expecting since the higher fat is supposed to make it creamier than other breeds of goat milk. But, it wasn't bad, just not what I was expecting. The good thing, it tasted good, and this is their first milking, so there is the potential that next year will be even better.
I am SOOOO excited to start making raw milk yogurt with their milk. I think I will start a batch tonight. Since we are doing GAPS and have to let it incubate 24 hours, and then let it cool for another 8 or so hours it won't be done for a day and a half. I was bummed about Pippi's milk. What are we going to do with it? Then I remembered that after seeing the hefty price for the powdered probiotic made for goats, that I was going to just give them kefir instead. So I will use her milk to make kefir for all of our animals (goats, chickens, dogs and cats). When we milk twice a day I will get a half gallon of milk for the animal kefir, plenty to go around.