Recently we were on several facebook groups and a multitude of people asked about our DIY milker. It is easier to write it up and have one central place to point people vs reposting it each time.
Let me start off by saying this is our 2nd year of milking goats. Last year we hand milked just one. So we are fairly new to this. Right, wrong, or indifferent, this is how we are doing it on OUR farm, and not saying you should as well. Just sharing our experience. We do not sell our milk it is for our personal use only. We now are milking 3 goats a day, and potential for 5 later this year and 8 next year. So we may be moving to version 4.0 as we are currently on 3.0 design of the system. Some parts we had already, tubing (for maple syrup collecting), fittings (parts cabinet), and T splitters. We have a large supply of jars and lids. If you have to buy everything new or use different parts, your costs may vary.
Version 1.0 was a single food saver rechargeable hand pump, 30 CC syringe, and small oxygen tubing. This may be an option for one goat, but battery life would diminish by goat number two. We milked directly into jars as well, and different fittings. We added a second hand pump to milk longer but just wasn’t efficient. When we started milking 3 goats we needed an upgrade. Version 2.0 used a more powerful pump, larger lines, but no pulsator. Version 3.0 added the pulsator and the reinforced lure locks on the “teat cups”
This is Version 3.0 of our milker.
We milk directly into large mouth mason jars. This setup allows milking into pint, quart, or 1/2 gallon jars. You can also use pints. We have both configurations to give more options if needed for available clean jars. We milk once a day in the morning, letting the does back with the kids during the day. We do not pasteurize, but straight from milking to a refrigerator. We get about 2 weeks in the refrigerator before needing to give to pigs, dogs, or chickens. We use the milk to drink, make ice cream, cheese, cook etc. We clean the cups, and lines immediately after each use, wash the jars after empty and reuse lids to seal. Only the lids for milking have holes, we use regular jar lids for storage. We also date each jar after milking, using oldest 1st.
Vacuum pump – Amazon – Pump
Pulsator – Amazon – Must have to not put too much strain on teats, and is more soothing to goat. straight suction without relief can injure them Pulsator
Tubing – Amazon – Tubing
Fittings – While we didn’t get these from Amazon they are available. We also had various fittings laying around we scavenged to put it together
Jar fittings –
Lure lock inserts We had left over parts from rabbit watering system. The plastic T fittings.
30 CC lure lock syringes (important lure lock) – Amazon – Syringe
Foot switch (V4.0 addition, allows pump to be further from goat/stand and remote operation) – Amazon – Switch
Filters – Amazon -When we do need to filter for hair/etc. Filter
Once you remove the plungers from the syringe it fits over most teats. At least on our goats. Some had larger teats, some were so small we have to rest the “teat cup” on the udder vs seal around the teat. We carry everythign out in the tote to keep contained and clean from the house to the barn. There are also spare parts, extra lids, tubing as to not to have to come back to the house once in the barn.
Close up of Jar
Version 2.0 we drilled the canning lids (used ones, because that would be a waste for unused ones) and just screwed the fittings in, with banding rubber bands for a seal. That didn’t give a good seal. Next we took electrical nuts and screwed them down to give a seal with the bands. It worked but started to rust. So, we used kitchen silicone to seal holes and nuts. which sealed and protected the metal. Canning lids will rust once you disturb the coating. Version 4.0 will have a better put together system for the jar lids.
Up close syringe
Version 2.0 the tubing fits over the lure lock and held in place by the clamp. That worked for a month or so but then constant moving and bending of the tubes makes the lure lock fitting soft and tubes keep slipping off. We cut one end of the T barn fitting, pushed into the lure lock and reattached clamp and tubing. This gives the end of the syringe more strength and stability. I leave the plungers in the syringes until just prior to use to keep them clean before milking.
The Farm Boss aka the wife wanted something to hold the teat cups while setting up, or changing out goats that keeps them off the ground and clean. I stumbled upon these broom holders in a pack of 6. This is also nice to hold tubes and cups upright after cleaning so they can drain. This is mounted on the cabinet next to our sink.
We use a shearing stand I modified for milking. The side rails are nice and have a place to mount the teat cup holders. Ignore all the junk in the background. Pump is not usually on the stand.