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The technique used to milk a goat is slightly different from that used to milk a cow, but it is still relatively easy to master with a little practice. Most people start by placing the goat on a milking stand, which is a platform with a stanchion that secures the goat's head. Goats are usually reasonably willing to cooperate if there is feed provided on the other side of the stanchion. It is possible to milk a goat without the stand or stanchion, but it is much easier with these tools holding the animal in place.
To milk a goat by hand, one must first clean both hands and the goat's udder and teats. Usually, this is done by wiping the areas with warm water and a clean cloth. This prevents dirt and other large contaminates from falling into the milk pail, and also stimulates the goat so that it releases more milk.
After the goat is clean, one then places the empty milk pail below the goat, a little ahead of her udder. Goats can kick the pail over so it is recommended that a milker keep close watch of the bucket.
A goat's udder has two sides, sometimes called halves, which are actually two separate compartments. Each of these compartments has a teat from which milk can be squirted. When learning to milk a goat, it may be best to start slowly practicing on first one side then the other. People with experience usually put one teat in each hand and milk both sides in an alternating rhythm.
The actual milking process is simple, but it can be difficult to aim the milk. First, the thumb and forefinger should be wrapped around the place where the teat connects to the udder, cutting off the milk in the teat from the udder. Then, the other fingers will tighten one after the other around the teat, squeezing the milk toward the teat's orifice and into the pail. Once the teat has been emptied, the fingers can relax, causing the teat to refill with milk. This is repeated on both sides until the udder is empty and deflated.
When milking a goat, it is important never to pull on the teat or udder, as this can hurt the goat. The first squeeze of milk from each teat should be aimed outside the bucket, as this may contain contaminants. After milking, the goat's udder should always be cleaned with a teat dip, which can usually be purchased from farm supply stores.
Milking a goat by hand can be a great craft, but many farms also practice milking by machine. There are special goat-milking machines on the market, each with its own special instructions. Milking by hand is easy and sanitary, and is a great way to get fresh goat milk every day.
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