One of the first big steps that many homesteaders take when becoming more self-reliant is to consider owning a dairy animal. Whether you go for a cow or a goat, having your own milk – that you can later turn into butter and cheese – is a great way to continue making your home self-sustaining.
If you’ve never had to milk an animal before, it can be a daunting task, but many first-time homesteaders have learned to milk their goats or cows successfully. If you are consistent with your milking routine, and you utilize a few key tips, you’ll have no trouble getting your first perfect bucket of fresh milk.
Tip #1: Set up the ideal milking spot first.
Animals can be easily spooked or just plain stubborn at times, and any kind of stress on their system will lower their milk production. Before you try to milk, be sure that you have a quiet, comfortable spot picked out. You want it to be clean, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and away from any distracting activity. You should have extra supplies within reach, especially at first; it is inevitable that the cow or goat will put their foot into the bucket a few times.
Tip #2: No matter what milking routine you use, always focus on cleanliness.
Milking gets dirty fast, and mastitis and other bacteria can spread very quickly. To keep your animals and your family healthy, it’s imperative that you keep everything clean while you milk. The udder area should be shaved or trimmed as necessary, and always wiped down before you milk. The bucket should be sanitized after every use, and you may also want to tie up the animal’s tail.
With these two tips, and a bit of patience, you’ll find that milking is no problem at all.