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The exact milking procedures change over time. This list gives a pretty detailed outline of what we are doing as of Nov. 2007. The procedures evolve to meet changing situations in the milking barn. New or modified equipment, changes in the goat mix (new goats, first time milkers, etc.), and unforseen events can change how things need to be done.
Consistency is important for the dairy goats, so changes that affect the goats must occur with minimal disruption for what the goats are expected to do. They always seam to find a way themselves to make nearly every milking not quite like the one before! Many little things I do are things that can prevent larger problems when the goats get some new idea to try out. Basic sanitary and mechanical procedures are critical for producing good milk. Safety issues are important to keep the goats healthy, and when things run smoothly, the milker is happy, which makes happier goats!
* Before you start check that the wash cycle has completed from previous milking. Check the wash chemical reservoir on the wall above the wash tank. If chemicals show in the reservoirs, the wash has not completed. You will need to complete the cycle before you do any thing else. Also if the latches on the milk cups were not open, the pipes in the parlor were not washed. You will need to do a rinse cycle prior to milking.
* Check to see that the hot water tank is turned off at the panel near where the Kabota is parked.
* Install filter and pipe to milk tank.
* Check the temperature on the dairy tank. Should be at 3 degrees.
* Get a bucket of hot water ready for washing teats.
* Remove milk cups from holders, close latches. Turn valve from Wash to Milk, close drain pipe latch (on the floor in the corner) and turn over the bypass plate so the short side is down.
* Pull down rope to raise cup holders, tie it off.
* Spray water on the green floor so any milk spills will not soak in.
* Empty water from the white jug on the floor and rinse it out. Reinstall it on the milker. This tank catches milk to later feed the babies.
* Put grain into each trough. Small goats get full tall plastic yogurt container ( 750 ml size) worth of grain. Too much grain can kill a goat! They may bloat, or in the long term it will 'burn out' their livers.
-Automatic grain system: make sure the trough wall is raised before you hit the big button, or there will be grain spilled all over! The first trough usually has too much grain, and often some trough are not filled correctly down the row, check each time!
- When you don't have 24 goats in a string or have too much grain in buckets left over, you could give grain by hand using the yogurt container.
* Spread a handful of shavings at the back of each goat stall to soak up stripped milk and teat dip spills.
* In Dairy turn switch from Wash to Milk.
* Move gates as needed to let in each string of goats.
* Open the swing door to let them into the alley leading to the milking stalls. New goats, (and some who should know better) may need some assistance. They may try to get two into one stall, and then a traffic jam occurs! With the very new goat strings (ones who haven't been milking very long) I guide them into each stall and hold back the ones behind. We are using both sides of the parlor now, so once the first side is filled, close the swing gate and let more goats into the other side.
* When we have bucks in the does pens, the boys get tied up prior to letting in the does. Once you have cleared the pen of does, the bucks get their grain ration in buckets. Leave them tied up till all the girls have been milked. This saves chasing the boys back into the pen every time you let in the milked out goats.
* With wet paper towel wash each teat, then strip out the first milk
(just a squirt). Only wash and strip half the goats at a time.
Stripping encourages them to let down their milk so there should only be
less than a minute from stripping till milk cups installed.
We are now using both side of the parlor, so can milk 48 at one time. But we don't want a goat to be left on the milker too long. So hook up one side of goats to the milkers, then half the other side, then remove milkers from first side and complete hooking up the second side.
* Open the latch on the milk cups and place them on each teat. Make sure the teat does not fold over when you are installing them. Also If the goat has long hair try to not have that caught in the milk cup, it is uncomfortable for the goat, and the hair may taint the milk.
* Close the latch and remove the cups from the teats when milk stops flowing, and the udder looks collapsed. Some goats milk out faster than others. Some may stop flowing, but the udder is not empty. You may remove the cups and immediately reinstall. This will often encourage them to let more milk down. Massaging the udder is not recommended as the goats like that and may hold their milk unless massaged every time!
* Dip the teats with the iodine squeeze bottle. Only the bottom little tip needs to be dipped.
* When all are milked and dipped open the gate to their pen, close off the alley way door and raise the trough wall to let them out of the stalls. You will likely need to herd them into their pen.
* Set up grain again and continue with next milk string.
* Open a latch part way down the row on each side of the parlor, turn valve to wash. Close the latchs, turn valve back to milk. This will blow out the last milk from the pipes.
* At panel by the parlor door, turn switch to Manual, hold green Manual Pump button for 35 seconds to pump all the milk from the parlor to the milk tank. When finished switch back to Automatic.
* Remove filter and pipe from milk tank. Have bucket under the filter when you take it out to catch the milk. Leave it hooked on to allow the milk to drain in. Replace the round cap once the pipe is removed and install the latch.
* Get the jug from the wash tank.
* Put the jug on the drain pipe, and open the latch, once it is finished draining leave the latch open. Make sure the valve is turned to Wash. Turn the bypass plate over so the long side is down. This allows even washing on both sides of the parlor.
* Sweep the shavings in the stalls towards the swing gate. Sweep in the stalls to get rid of spilled grain. Sweep the alleyway also. Sweep the entry shoot at the swing gate. Everything should be swept into the holding area so it doesn't get dragged back in at the next milking.
* Untie and let down the milk cup holders. Rinse out the teat dip squeeze bottle into the wash water.
* Dip each set of milk cups into the wash water and install them onto the holders. Open each latch.
* Hose down the pit floor, the hoses from the milk cups and the steel wall below the cups. Do not spray the floor above the steel, where the goats stand. This will only make it slippery and it won't dry before next milking.
* Cover any left over grain in the buckets to prevent flies from hanging around.
* Bring both jugs of milk into the dairy, this is for feeding the kid goats.
* Remove the bucket of milk from where the filter was. Attach the pipes for wash.
* Dump the round jug of milk into a bucket (to feed the kid goats) and replace the round jug on its tubes in the parlor.
* Turn dial to Wash, turn to start, and set the Timer. The timer triggers a sanitising rinse of the system prior to the next milking.
* Hose down the dairy to remove all milk spills from floors and surfaces.
Turn the hot water tank back on.
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