Milking the Goat- Without A Stand

I don’t have a milk stand. I had intended to build one as just about every goat handling book has diagrams and directions for building your own. It seemed like if you milk goats you need a stand. I never got around to it partly because of time and partly because our old goat barn was rather dimly lit. I wanted to have a portable stand so I could milk outside when it was nice but I also wanted to be able to move it inside in bad weather. I did find one prefab metal portable goat stand which only weighed 30 lbs but it was something like 400 dollars- definitely wasn’t happening. However, the more I thought about it and considered nomadic goat herders and descriptions in books like Heidi the more I thought “well it can surely be done”. And so, this is how I do it:

First, I usually give a little grain to occupy Ms. Ellie then I straddle the goat facing backwards.My view is something like this:

Occasionally I kneel beside her but that changes the angle of my hand (making milking less efficient) and then I don’t have my knees to keep her from wondering off. Then I reach under (or sometimes around) and brush her off making sure any hay or loose hairs won’t fall into the milk. After a clearing squirt or two I get down to business and milk. I use a quart size mason jar to milk into. I prefer a wide mouth jar because I can clean it easier- although a regular mouth jar is a little easier to hold. I hold the jar under with one hand and squirt the milk into it with the other. Because I needed one hand to take photos with the camera I have to break it down into two shots.

Holding the jar:


For this shot I placed the jar on the ground but I’d rather hold it because there’s less aiming and it prevents her from knocking it over and spilling it.

There’s more than one way to grasp the teat and milk. Goat teats are rather small and can be difficult to grasp. I prefer the way in the photo above although sometimes I alternate. When I first started milking I had to alternate methods because of hand fatigue. Now I don’t need to and milking probably takes me half the time. To be honest tho I don’t really know how long it takes me I’d guess 10-15 minutes.Β  I also only milk once a day in the morning. This is Ms. Ellie’s first time being milked and she gives a little over a quart. If I milked her twice a day she’d give a half gallon a day which is about average.

Fresh raw goats milk.

I use the same position for trimming the back hooves and I face the other way to trim the front hooves. For scur trimming I have struggling_along hold Manson’s head while I trim. While I can see how a goat stand would be useful I certainly don’t think it’s a necessity.


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homestead barn hop, monday mania, fat tuesday, traditional tuesday, hearth and soul, real food wednesday, frugal days sustainable ways, simple lives thursday, fight back friday, freaky friday, food flick friday, farmgirl friday, sunday school, wild crafting wednesday


13 thoughts on “Milking the Goat- Without A Stand

  1. Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, we had 40 goats we milked every morning and evening, so only a gallon bucket and two hands would do. It can be therapudic, but back breaking without a stantion. We also had a piece of twine on the end of the stantion with a loop for some of the nannies foot to go in–some of them were skilled at kicking the bucket over.
    Good memories.

    • 40! That would indeed require two hands! I’m only milking one and I think up to about 3 would be fine. My back was a bit sore the first week but I also wear by baby a lot which can feel rather back breaking too πŸ™‚ I like the twine loop idea. Crying over spilled milked takes on a whole new meaning when it really is milk and it just took a half hour of fighting of hooves to get it.

  2. I’ve milked two goats this way. I did try a milk stand, my husband made it, but it just never seemed right. I guess by then I’d gotten used to squatting for 15 minutes or so without falling over πŸ™‚ Plus, like you I liked the flexibility of easily being able to milk indoors or out.

    Thanks for sharing this with us over at Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday!

  3. I’ve always been curious to know just how to do it this way. I do have a milking stand my DH built and it is great… but it is nice to know there is a free alternative!

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  6. In India, my mother’s sister have a cow in their house, I used to watch the entire milking process when I was kid. Nice article, brought back lot of memories. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  7. I’ve tried the milking-from-the-rear but that was after our goats were trained to be milked from the side on the stand. They would have none of it! πŸ™‚ Being 9 months pregnant and milking also sounds kinda hard…

    I’m thinking of trying this again though when we have a first freshener just to get a handle on the technique

    • Oh goodness being 9 months pregnant and doing anything is hard πŸ˜‰
      The first time fresheners never really like being milked in the first place but at least they haven’t been trained.

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