Milk Cleanliness when Hand Milking

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by Sundari, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Sundari

    Sundari New Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Denver, CO
    We just started milking our Nigi. I've done a lot of reading on milk sanitation, and these are the steps I'm currently taking:

    - Sterilizing the bucket, funnel/filter holder, and milk jar in dilute bleach water and letting air-dry
    - Washing her udder with a dilute soap & bleach solution
    - Washing my hands before milking
    - Strip cup check for mastitis
    - Teat dip after milking
    - Straining the milk through a filter into sterilized jar, then refrigerating (bottom shelf) immediately

    However, my husband is worried that something on the underside of the goat (not her udder where I wash, but her stomach) will fall into the milk. He knows that I strain it, but he's worried about "things you can't see" contaminating the milk and making it unsafe.

    Our breeder had showed us this contraption that hooks onto the teat and sucks all the milk out into a bottle -- a closed system that nothing can get into. My husband thinks we should use something like that to guarantee that the milk is clean.

    I don't want to buy the contraption -- I think lots of people hand milk and it can be safe. (Note: I also don't wish to pasteurize the milk).

    Can anyone share your experiences of milking? Are you able to handmilk using the protocols above and get safe milk? I do understand that nothing (including milk from the store) is 100% safe, but is it reasonable to expect that handmilking is ok? Is there anything else I should be doing to keep the milk clean?

    Many thanks.
  2. ecologystudent

    ecologystudent New Member

    May 29, 2009
    Lacey, wa
    Sounds very safe to me. Maybe you could brush the belly and areas around the udder before you start milking? That's what I do, just because I don't like stray hairs, even though I do strain. I would be careful about a milking machine- a lot of the smaller ones I've seen on here aren't good for the goat, and a real machine is expensive, and for me, more hassle than it's worth.

  3. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    First off, I don't recommend using a bleach solution to wash her udder; bleach is very drying to the skin and may make her uncomfortable. Just use warm water with a little dish soap in it :)

    One thing to remember is that raw milk has enzymes in it that will prevent and stop the growth of bad bacteria, so you won't have to worry about 'bad' stuff in the milk. Also, for the best flavor, cool the milk down to 40 F within the hour of leaving the goat, usually submerging it in an ice bath will do the trick :)
  4. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    Sounds like you are doing a very good job. There is nothing you can do to prevent contamination completely, however there are enzymes and certain beneficial bacteria present in RAW milk that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that may get in the milk. Cooling the milk quickly helps limit the number of bacteria as well.

    Now, if a goat puts it's foot in the bucket, obviously that milk will have to be thrown out...but just a couple hairs or small specks of hay happen to fall into the milk...or anything that is not visible...the risk of harmful amounts of bacteria being in the milk is miniscule.

    I milk by hand. I follow basically the same procedure that you do...we drink the milk...we have never suffered any ill-effects from it. The only thing I do different is I usually cool the milk in the freezer until it gets a little slushy--I like my milk super cold and I think it stays fresher longer this way.
  5. SDK

    SDK New Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Yucaipa ca

    i agree with the bleach thing.. it will dry the udder out :/ I use the baby wipes to clean off the udder, since they are disposable, one use things, a friends uses an iodine based spray, so just play with it.

    I also shave up the udder and the belly in front of the udder to keep hair, dirt, and hay particle out of the milk.

    after milking i spray on Fightbac to prevent bacteria from getting into the teats.

    and cool that milk down as fast as you can, it does improve flavor/ shelf life.

    I dont pastuerize the milk i use for myself, and i've never gotten sick
  6. Sundari

    Sundari New Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Thank you so much to everyone for your responses -- they're very helpful!

    One question about shaving the udder... I tried to shave her a little with a hand-held razor, but wasn't able to remove much hair. Do you all typically use one of those electric hair-trimmer/shavers?
  7. Realfoodmama

    Realfoodmama New Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Santa Fe, NM
    The only other thing to mention, since it sounds frankly as though you have it covered, is to milk the first few squirts outside the pail. Although, I suppose if you are doing test strips every time you might already be?

    Typically the first squirt or two contains the highest amount of bacteria so if you dispose of them you're less likely to get contamination.

    I tend to be kind of sloppy about cleanliness :oops: and I have never had any problems.

    The other key, which someone already mentioned, is to put it in an ice bath. I leave a stainless container on the bottom shelf of the fridge with ice packs in it and swap the packs out when they start to thaw. This way the milk gets down to below 40 degrees much faster than if it is just put in the fridge.

    Just as a random aside: I think its rather funny that your hubby is worried about things he can't see. My man is totally disturbed by the whole thing for a variety of reasons. It took me nearly a whole year of milking my girl before he would drink it! Funny how sometimes men can be squeamish about things :wink:
  8. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I use electric clippers...I have Oster A5's but the ones for human hair work fine for trimming udders and are a lot less expensive. You can use a hand held razor after clipping if you want to...I don't because I like to leave a little hair for protection against the sun and insects.
  9. lissablack

    lissablack New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    I have this bucket from Hoeggers ... =80&page=1. It's shorter and wider than the other bucket I have, so it fits better under my short goats. (The lid is useless)

    Then, this filter ... =17&page=1 fits in the top of it. It keeps everything out of the milk, you can bring it in already filtered, it is wonderful. If they put their foot in the bucket, it is stopped by the filter. You can't keep milking into it then without cleaning it, but the milk isn't ruined. It keeps flies out. I do use the paper filters like they sell.

    Someone on an email list I'm on shared this, and I already had the stuff but had retired it to the cupboard because the lid was useless and the filter won't fit in a small mouthed mason jar. But I haven't used anything else to milk since I tried putting the filter and bucket together. They don't mention that they fit like this, I have no idea why not. What she said was that she usually doesn't buy expensive equipment, but this combination works so well that it is very worth the money. Plus of course it will last forever.

    One problem with the milkers like you describe is they all have some amount of tube that has to be cleaned out, I like having equipment that is utterly simple to clean and has no nooks and crannies to catch and hold things.

  10. Realfoodmama

    Realfoodmama New Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Santa Fe, NM
    Omg that Hoegger combo is awesome! I have the bucket, but got the smaller filter so it would fit into a mason jar...Maybe I will invest in the larger one!

    I usually milk into a smaller stainless steel bowl, then pour it into the larger bucket every few moments (I have a kicker... lol)

    I love Hoegger! :love:
  11. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    My milking method has worked for me and my girls for 7 years, NEVER an issue with mastitis or even bad flavored milk.
    1.Doe on stand
    2. Measured feed in pan
    3. Quick brush of my hand over belly
    4. Baby wipe over udder
    5. SS Strainer w/ paper filter in a 4 cup measuring cup
    6. Milk, and strip thoroughly
    7. Wipie over teats
    8. Doe down, milk poured over icee into SS bucket, record measure from doe then on to the next girl.
    9. All this takes me 5-8 minutes per doe, depending on how smoothe the process goes, all milk is in the fridge within 15 minutes(I use the icee in the hot months, winter months I don't)
  12. farmgirl1

    farmgirl1 New Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    Monroeville, NJ
    I agree but my mom uses a mixture of water, dish soap and just a little bit of bleach. I will probably stick to just dish soap and water or baby wipes when I milk by myself.
  13. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    Good procedure all around. The only exception I'd take is the homemade teat solution. I prefer an actual dairy designed udder wash, as I know I'm always using the same strength. We bought a gallon bottle of Iodofor concentrate about 5 years ago and have barely used a quarter of it milking on average 3 or 4 does per year. An eyedropper full into a liter spray bottle of water is all it takes. We clip udders and the foreudder belly short with an Oster A5 #30 blade and brush the belly before starting. We first sanitize our hands with the udder spray and dry with a paper towel, then spray down each teat until the spray runs off. Good and wet. Dry each teat with a separate paper towel. Milk. Then another spray and dry and udder balm if the teats appear dry.
    For cooling milk, I had an underused smallish chest freezer. I filled it half full of ice cubes and pushed three 6 quart stainless milk buckets that I had sprayed the outside with pam down into the ice all the way to the rim. Filled the buckets with hot water to partially melt the ice cubes, and left them there till the next day. I then removed the buckets and had three perfectly molded holes where my buckets fit. Fill a bucket and slide it into the slot in the freezer and it's at 40 degrees in about 15 minutes.
  14. Cinder

    Cinder New Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    You are doing a great job - I'll add my 2 cents for some other ideas.

    I agree that using bleach is too hard on the teats. After a year and a half of experimenting I am now wiping the udder and belly with my hand when she's on the milk stand. I then use baby wipes to wipe the teats first and then the udder. (I make sure that once the wipe has touched the udder I don't touch the teats with it again.)

    The first several squirts go into the cat dish, my barn kitties come running when it's milking time. They sit and wait around my feet for those few little squirts of milk.

    To keep all hair and 'stuff' out of my milk pail I use cheesecloth (I get cheesecloth that hasn't been chemically treated in any way) that is cut in size (I just cut them into squares so they fall down over the edges of the pail a little) to fit over the top of the pail. I hold it tightly in place with four clothespins. The milk passes right through it into the pail but nothing else gets through... much cleaner milk for those (like your hubby) that are concerned about those stray goat hairs that will fall into the pail.

    If for some reason I don't have cheesecloth I have also used a bandana or hanky and held it over the pail with clothespins. Then, when I'm milking I just fold half of it backwards over the pail and milk through the opening. I then re-cover the pail when I'm done. I tried milking through the bandanas but the milk sprays everywhere as it 'splashes' off the material.

    I end by spraying "Fight Bac" onto the end of each teat.

    I also agree with using an ice bath immediately to get the milk as cold as quickly as possible. If I don't have a larger bucket with ice available to set my glass jars into then I put the glass jars directly into our chest freezer for an hour and a half (for a 1/2 gallon jar). I put our stove timer on so I don't forget to get them out or they will freeze and can break. I then move them into the refrigerator.

    I use scotch tape on all lids to mark the day and a.m. or p.m. milking so we always use the older milk first.
  15. zoomom

    zoomom New Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    Has anyone tried using the old fashioned glass top quart jars to store the milk? (the ones with the rubber seals) Someone gave me ALOT of them and i was thinking they would work perfectly.
  16. MiGoat

    MiGoat New Member

    Apr 21, 2010
    West Michigan
    That would work great zoomom.
  17. redneck_acres

    redneck_acres New Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    We use the gallon size glass jars-you can also use the smaller 1/2 gallon pickle jars. To clean our machine we heat our water in a one of those portable coffee pots with the spout-it gets it really good and hot-then we either put a bit of bleach or acid cleaning solution in the bucket for that one-that's our second rinse bucket-we first clean it out with hot soapy water. As for washing the udders we use wash cloths and a bucket of hot(not super hot) soapy water. It saves on having to buy baby wipes all the time-plus I find the baby wipes tend to dry out fast.