Enthusiasm is prerequisite for the smallholder. You need stacks of it, an unlimited supply of the stuff to force you out of bed some mornings to brave the elements and tend your animals. Luckily in the sunshine the enthusiasm capacitors are recharged very quickly which is why I have decided that milking the goat is a good idea. Good idea, no, great idea, why pretty soon I will be making goats cheese, feeding the surplus to the pigs and perhaps even bathing in the stuff as an ex colleague who saw a picture of me on the website sent a very encouraging e mail the other day. You are looking old. Just that. Cheers!
Anyway with enthusiasm bordering on the delusional I decided the Old English Goat, Juliet had sponged off Rock HQ enough, she might have provided us with two nanny kids to sell, she might be a very efficient weed clearing machine but her primary role was, when given a berth here, to provide us with milk. As was her sister June, who opted out of the milk project by exploding. Yes goats explode, look back over the pages to find how and when.
The how to milk goats book is a great help, and had I followed it I would have forked out a fortune on stainless steel apparatus to collect, sieve and cool the precious liquid in.(Hundreds of pounds) I would also have constructed a milking bench to save my back and not allowed what was supposed to be a goat dairy at the back of the stables to become another home for another horse.
What the smallholder really needs if they want milk from their goat is the patience of Jobe, the flexibility of a Russian Gymnast, the speed and reflexes of a panther and a fridge that has a lot of milk in it already because in the unlikely event of you being able to squeeze a few drops out out the writhing udder it is more than likely to be rendered undrinkable by the goats hoof, or hair, snot, bogies and numerous other foreign bodied that float happily in the jug.
First job is to lull the goat into a false sense of security that nothing bad is going to happen with a bucket of goats favourite munchies. (cost 50p) Dangerous pointy ends of goat are now facing away from you you approach udder in prescribed manner as per book. Remove goats right left leg from jug and shake out bits. Approach udder again. Remove both legs from jug. Stand up and straighten out back muscles. Empty jug. Hold goat against fence with your left leg, secure goats right leg in your right pocket, reach around smelly dangerous end carefully, approach udder and take hold of teat. Yelp in pain as sharp pointy end makes its self known, consider repairs for trousers (£14.99) Consider shooting goat ( 47p) Stand up, straighten back muscles.
Finally, grip teat firmly and resisting temptation to yank down hard to teach devil goat a lesson squeeze gently, first five squeeze are waste, do not attempt to catch them as they are full of nasty bacteria. Squeezes six to ten are range finding squeezes, ensuring milk hits jug held strategically out of range of goats hoof and bottom. Squeezes ten to empty are yours. Once one side of the udder is empty stand up, cry in pain because of need for osteopath (£35 a session) bend and attempt to milk other side.
Repeat above game of Goat Twister until one or both of you gets bored. Goat wins game if it can eat food without providing enough milk for a cup of coffee. You win if you gamble, risking the enough gathered for a cup of coffee and risk losing it all to get enough for your morning cornflakes.
I have run the gauntlet twice in 24 hours and so far collected a whole wine glass full of milk. The how to make cheese book is flawed, its measurements are in litres, wheres the millilitre conversion table when you need one.
Cost effective? Not really.
More fun than going to the shops?
Definitely. As long as the sun shines.