Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Goat's Milk

Onyx and Jasper are getting old enough now that they are eating some grain, grass and hay, so we have started separating them from their mother so that we can get enough milk for ourselves.

I enjoy a great big glass of cold goat's milk all by itself or with some brownies or cookies. I am having a glass right now while I am typing this.

I have been separating the kids at around 2:00 in the afternoon, then we milk Cinder in the evening right before dark, then turn the babies back in with her for the night. The amount of milk that we get varies but we have enough for the two of us.

Cinder is not a good milker, she has a large udder and produces plenty of milk but she hates being milked. You would think that after awhile she would get used to the idea but it just never gets better.

It is a struggle to get her on the milking stand. We have a bale of straw beside the milking stand and her feed is right on the other side of the stanchion waiting for her to stick her head through. She doesn't mind standing on the bale of straw and putting her two front feet on the stand or even sticking her head through the stanchion to eat her grain but she just won't put her back feet up on the stand. So my poor husband has to lift her up there each time.

Then we have to put hobbles on her hind legs above the hocks because it is the only way that she can be milked. She will kick, stomp and squirm without the hobbles, she will put her feet in the bucket, along with hair and bits of manure. So, hobbles are the only answer for her.

We clean her udder before milking begins and my husband does all of the milking, he is very good at it. Just as soon at the milking is over, the bowl of milk is hurried inside and strained quickly through a metal, permanent coffee filter that we purchased at Walmart. Speed is important because the sooner that you can get the milk into the refrigerator the better. Cooling the milk quickly is the secret to really good tasting goat's milk.

We do not use the milk right away, we wait until the milk has been in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours for the cream to rise to the top, then I take a large tablespoon and skim the cream, I either save it to make butter with or use as a creamer in my coffee or it goes to the dogs and cat. The remaining milk is placed in a pitcher or clean milk jug for drinking.
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