Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Brian leads Dora from the pen to the milkhouse for the evening milking. Brian's goats are friendly and usually cooperative.

Brian improved his milking procedure this spring with the arrival of new equipment and the knowledge he gained from research about milk safety and the specification of a Grade A Dairy. He purchased milking equipment including milkers, a stainless steel sink, and bulk tank from a farm auction. Last fall he procured a small, second-hand freezer. 

The entire operation is now contained in the milkhouse, from milking the goats, to cooling and storing the milk, to cleaning the equipment. The main limitation of the small block building is that it has no running water. Brian must haul five gallon pails of water from the faucet in the barn or, if he wants hot water, from the house. But Brian has an idea of how to connect the milkhouse to the waterline from the barn. Someday he dreams of converting the entire operation into a Grade A Dairy. 

A pail, strainer, and two half gallon glass jars are suspended in a drainer over the stainless steel sink Brian installed in the milkhouse. 

Brian feeds the goats their grain while he milks them. Currently he is milking two does--Merry (pictured) and Dora. 

Brian milks his goats twice a day and receives approximately a gallon of milk each milking. By Michigan law Brain can't sell raw (unpasteurized) milk. He has dreams of someday running a dairy operation where he can sell goat milk.

The milkhouse is a white, brick building connected to the main barn. Years ago, when the barn housed dairy cattle, the former owners used a pit in the corner of the milkhouse to keep the milk cool. After we bought the place Dad filled the pit with concrete and we used the milkhouse as a playhouse. Now the building is again a genuine milkhouse.

Before cooling the milk, Brian weighs the milk and records the data. Then he strains the milk to remove any hair that dropped in the bucket during milking. He cools the half gallon jars of milk by submerging them in ice water. 

Brian keeps records of how much milk each goat produces per day. 

Brian's job isn't done when the goats leave the milkhouse. Along with taking care of the milk, Brian must wash the equipment and clean the milkhouses. To reduce the possibility of bacteria, Brian uses a brush rather than a dishcloth to wash the seamless milk pail.

It takes Brian about half an hour to complete his milking chores. After draining the water from the sink and sweeping the floor, Brian leaves the milkhouse only to return in twelve hours to repeat the process.


  1. Very nice photo journalism. Who would have thunk the milkery would return to it's original purpose. It appears the caption on the first picture should read Dora leads Brian to the milkhouse. Very impressive setup Goat-man.

  2. Thank you for sharing all of the photos of the milking process, Amy, and the descriptions to go along with it! For someone who is hoping to 'someday' have a dairy animal (be it cow or goat), it was a much enjoyed post!