Singing Practice – I mean, Goat Milking

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One of the mainstays of my personal daily chores is goat milking and feeding the goats every morning. The entire process takes about an hour from start to finish, and believe it or not – I like it!

That’s right: in trade for free accommodation, I milk goats. I really never thought I would say that.

This post was originally published in 2007. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

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There are seven goats, four of which get milked, one of which is the eldest and is kept around because she’s family, and two of which are just approaching breeding age. They are full of personality, mischief, and love. A sign of affection is when they rub their heads on your leg – just be sure to watch out for the curly horns on some of them: I have a few bruises from them digging into my thigh!

Apparently I have a good touch with the goats, because within five days of our arrival I was already milking like a pro (look mom – two hands)! The actual act of milking takes a bit of practice, as you don’t want to be too rough, yet you need a strong touch to squeeze all the milk out too. It’s a delicate art of closing off the flow at the top of the teat, and then squeezing down to get the milk captured in the teat out. Then let go, allow more milk to flow into the teat, and squeeze again. There’s no pulling, prodding, or tugging involved.

And believe it or not my rock climbing experience helps out a ton with the milking! It is not uncommon for newbie milkers to experience huge fatigue and muscle pain in their forearms and hands from the repetitive squeezing. But I had no problems…..and what a great way to stay in shape for future rock climbing endeavours!

And all in all one of the most enjoyable parts of milking each morning (enjoyable both for the goats as well as me), is that the goats like to be sung to. It helps them relax when being milked, and makes the experience easier for everybody. Hence – I call my morning milking routine “singing practice”!

Requests, anyone? (“Feelings….nothing more than….”)

And just in case you didn’t believe me, here is the video to prove that I have a little of the farming hillbilly in me yet…

Click here to watch on YouTube!

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