Wehner Homestead

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We had the opportunity to see two goats milked with a machine at the same time on Fri evening. It was very fast. I don’t feel like cleaning the tubing makes it justifiable for milking two does (IMHO.) DH did ask me to go ahead and start gathering information. He’d like information from two platforms: 1) milking for just our use and having 10-20 does in milk at any give time and 2) a dairy standpoint as he wants me to also explore this option as a way to provide income from the farm so that I’m not away from home as much AND I can make products for DD2 at the same time.

Talk to me! I want to know the good/bad/ugly of using a machine, about particular brands/companies/types, and what differences I should avoid/consider/explore.

This is something that DH would like to act on before next fall.

Another consideration is that I don’t have an issue milking three by hand right now. DH has carpal tunnel and struggles with numbness when he tries to help me. More goats would be more difficult for him.

I also need something that I can train others to use for when DD2 is in the hospital or any of her other issues that arise.

I’m tagging several that I know have or have been around milking machines but anyone can chime in.

@Southern by choice @Goat Whisperer @goatgurl @Devonviolet @OneFineAcre @animalmom @babsbag

@farmerjan I didn’t know if you might have something to include. I know you are on the dairy cattle side more but may have some insight on some aspects due to your experiences.

Thanks in advance all!!
 

farmerjan

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As far as the milking machine end for goats, no I don't have any experience. But, I think the writing is on the wall for you as far as someone who can do fill ins when needed and your husband can't.
No I wouldn't have a machine for just one or two cows, simply because the setup & cleanup would take as long as the milking. And Vacuum pumps/compressors needed to run a system would not be cheap. However, several of the ones that have goats do have some sort of milking machine set up and I think it would not be near so expensive for the goats. I think @Devonviolet has one and @babsbag has made that milking parlor and all. If I had more than 2 cows to milk by hand I would have one, or if the cows were milking alot. Since I "share with the calves" as many of the goat owners "share with the kids", It is not an issue. When I was milking 4 by hand it was a real Struggle to get through the last cow. There was no electricity anywhere within reason so a machine was not an option. Besides I was YOUNGER and willing to do things I no longer want to do as I've gotten older.

Hopefully the goat people will get back to you.

The thing with milking enough to have an income from them. You need to know if Indiana is a friendly "raw milk state". The best place I can think of is to go on "realmilk.com" which is associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation. Also for legalities you can go on the site for Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund or FTCLDF.
I am all for raw milk and for people having the right to choose. We are not a raw milk friendly state, and there are all sorts of "herd shares" and "cow shares" here done quietly. Many states you can sell raw milk and each has their own rules.
 
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ldawntaylor

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I don't know anything about milking machines. But, if the raw milk sales regulations are anything like here...check frequently on how much you can sell.

Around here the number of gallons that can be sold changes just about every year. At least that is what it seems like.
 

Wehner Homestead

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I won’t be selling raw milk. I feel like the chances of putting myself at risk for blame of illness is too high. Pasteurized milk and products would be the plan.
 

animalmom

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I have a vacuum type set-up that I really like, bought it Q4 2015. Unfortunately I don't think it is marketed in the US anymore. It is capable of doing two goats at one time although I don't do two at once. It is not electric, which was a big point for me as in if there isn't electricity I can't milk thing. I wanted one that wasn't electric.

The company is Swiss Made in the USA and I think the owner's name is Segal. Last time I emailed him, probably in 2016, he said he sold or licensed to a company in India but that he'd still provide service for anything he sold in the States. I don't have a firm memory of what I paid for it, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $400 with shipping and some extra 'O' rings and other parts.

I just did a quick and dirty search on the net and came up with nothing. We've gone through two computer crashes/rebuilds during this time and I lost all my emails with the man.

The system is simplicity at its best. The inflations are 35ml catheter syringes that we glued the bottom 1" of 20ml syringes to neck down the part that goes on the teat. I milk Nigerians who are not known for their teat size. The vacuum is supplied by a wall mounted compression unit that is arm pumped, not hand pumped. You pump up (suck down?) for the amount of pressure you want. There are valves on the tubing that keep the pressure when not in use. You release the valve on each line to start the milk flow. The milk flows through tubing into a 3 gallon (I think) covered stainless steel bucket. When the flow stops you reset the valve and remove the inflation. It is so much more elegant and simple than I just described and very easy to clean as it came with a long thin brush that you push through the tubing. The only tubing to be cleaned is that from the inflation into the bucket. There is a smaller diameter tube that runs from the pump to the bucket... but you don't clean that as no milk gets into that tubing.

I should think someone else could come up with a similar device. It really is quite similar to the brake fluid pump design, just larger and much easier to use. I tried the brake fluid pump and it hurt my hand so much to get it to pump to pressure.

Some folks don't like the constant pressure on the teat, but I have not seen any teat damage to my girls.

The girls don't seem to mind the inflations, tubing and the vacuum at all unless it catches a hair. When they were getting use to it all of them would stand on the tubing or kick an inflation off but they have stopped doing that. It takes me just under 10 minutes from doe gets on the stand until doe is done and off the stand.

If you want I can take some pictures of my milker.... sounds kind of lame, yeah it is kind of lame but it is the best I can do.
 

Southern by choice

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We had looked into this one- for 2 goat milker- https://hambydairysupply.com/2-goat...em-portable-pump-free-shipping-best-in-class/


We have a system one- http://www.caprinesupply.com/products/milking/milking-machines/system-one-vacuum-source.html
and a Hoeggar http://www.hoeggermilkingsystems.com/

We use the Hoeggar


Both are single- we can change a few things and make them a 2 goat milker.

I was originally looking at the hamby I really liked it.
But we were abundantly blessed. One machine we paid a small price for and had to do some repairs.
The hoeggar one was gifted to us! It is older but awesome. I love it!
I really like how portable it is.

I have to use the machine because of arthritis. GW hand milks but when she is gone I have to use the machine. The goats do fine with it surprisingly as they are really use to hand milking.

I still am not a fan of continuous pressure. There was a great video on FB the other day, the person took their phone and had it up close to a kid nursing... it really did sound like a pulsating milker. I really thought it was a machine but everytime the kid took a break there was no sound. I guess as a mom of 9 and nursing and also using a machine I had two machines and hands down the $1000 medela was the best- back in those days they were quite different than the ones they make today. HEAVY! I think it weighed like 30 lbs. CRAZY! Yet I carried that back and forth to Johns Hopkins everyday while my daughter was in the NICU for 4 months. The cheaper pumps were painful and horrid. So I guess I equate that to my goats udder! :lol:
 

Wehner Homestead

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@animalmom DH is an electrical engineer and has built some crazy stuff for 4-H, class projects, and just because stuff. I really think he may end up building one so that he can fix it if he wants. We will be going electric but a generator (or two) is on our list to purchase anyway. Definitely something to keep in mind though. I’d love to see pics as I’ve not seen or heard of anything quite like that yet.

@Southern by choice I’ll share these links with DH for him to evaluate. He called his dad tonight to ask about some of the cattle stuff from when his grandpa owned a dairy as a few parts are still floating around. (I was thinking “How many goats do you expect me to be milking???” Lol) I nursed my kids and used the $350 Medela pump that was one step below hospital grade. There’s no way that I could’ve tolerated anything less!

That leads me to more questions y’all: After you use the machine, do you bump the udder to get a second letdown while the machine is still on, after it’s taken off, or not at all? Also, do you hand strip at all after to make sure you got everything?
 

Southern by choice

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We never have to bump. We clean the udder with warm cloths which is enough for letdown, the machine does great. Except when GW was at your place and a gasket went bad and we had no pressure lol.
After the machine we do strip out. The one thing about the machine and why I'm not pressed for a 2 goat milker at once is sometimes you have to pull down slightly towards the end. If the inflations ride up you won't get the milk out. Usually the weight of the claw/inflations is enough but not always. BTW we can use the Nigerian inflations on everyone and we can use the big girl inflations on everyone ( we have two sets of tubing/inflations) the big ones are longer and very hard to fit under the nigerians but I have done it. I'd go with the Nigerian ones.
@babsbag told us to get the claw and we did. I like it!

As far as your bucket... don't get too small don't get too big. Get slightly larger than you need.
 

babsbag

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I have my milk parlor and we will just forget about that . Before that I used a Caprine Supply System One that I really like. (@Southern by choice, do you want to sell me yours? I need to find a used one for my friend that is raising all my kids this year? ) The way I clean it is probably not the best but I run a bucket of water with bleach and Dawn through it after every milking and then a bucket of bleach water. Once a week I drag it to the house and use an acid wash on it. Hot water would be a great improvement. I think my milk can is 3 gallons. It wasn't cheap, used I think I paid 800.00.
 
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