I have milked most of the dairy goat breeds. I made the decision a few years ago to milk the smaller type goats, mostly nigerian dwarfs and mini manchas. I was milking full size goats for years by hand and eventually started to develop carpel tunnel. After one summer of milking an ornery goat named Winifred, I developed right thumb tendonitis. It was so bad I had to see a physical therapist for two months.
Physical Therapist: “How did you injure your thumb?”
Me: “Milking Fred.”
Physical Therapist: “Who is Fred?”
The conversation went down hill from there. What my physical therapist explained to me was that repetitive stress injuries get worse if you keep doing them. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect to get better. He said this several times, I think mostly because he thought I wasn’t getting his point. I got the point and I also made up my mind to get a milking machine.
Goat milking machines and equipment can vary in price just like any thing else. There are high end professional types (the first ones I looked at) all the way down to simple foot pump operated vacuums that don’t require electricity. The professional types are usually engineered to milk multiple goats and come with a hearty price tag. The smaller, one goat at a time type milkers, have a variable price range but can usually be found in the hundred dollar range. My husband immediately poo-pooed the hearty price tag models and suggested I look for a used one on Craig’s List.
In the end I found one on Amazon.com of all crazy places. A nice fellow named Dan who lives in Florida makes a hand held, battery powered vacuum milking machine. I think what sold me on his product was the youtube video he produced with his goat Nancy, who had to go to the bathroom several times during the instructional video. Nancy was not too keen on being in the video, in fact she didn’t look to keen about being milked either. Here is a link to the video:
This hand held milker actually works great. I find that I still need to hand milk a small amount after I remove the milker in order to completely empty out the doe but this is not such a big deal and the cats are quite excited to get that milk. The tubing assembly is easy to clean and I hang it to dry over the sink on a laundry rack. This milker has saved me from physical therapy and the goats like it just fine. I call that a win-win.