Our goal is to steward the land and support a healthy group of milking goats, to harvest their milk in a clean manner and properly cool, store and bottle this milk. The following is a description of how we do things and what materials we use.
We rotationally graze our goats on the property and goats have access to ample outdoor space 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. In the summer, the goats graze and in winter we feed them local grass, alfalfa and organic grain. Goats have access to fresh, clean water. We have a large barn and small goat hutches for loafing and bedding in the winter and shade in the summer.
Milking is performed in a closed milking parlor with a cement floor. The holding pen is a grassy open-air pen.
Access to the milking/holding area from the fields is through the pens, down our dirt road or through the barn. These areas can become muddy in stormy or wet weather.
An enclosed, well-lit and ventilated room is used as our milking parlor. It has a concrete floor. Hot, soapy water is used to clean the animals before milking. A stainless steel, 3-basin sink and commercial dishwasher are used for washing and sterilizing milking equipment and sanitizing bottles.
A large stainless steel table is used for bottling milk. A commercial refrigerator is used to store milk products at under 40 degrees. A thermometer is always kept in the refrigerator to monitor milk temperature. A small separate stainless steel sink is provided for hand washing.
Goats are brought in from the fields or the barn into an open-air holding pen for milking. They are brought into the milking area one or two at a time and directed to their milk stanchion. The teats are washed with a wet cloth and soapy water with chlorohexidine. A clean rag is used for each teat/udder and goat to avoid cross-contamination. The teats are dried and the first streams of milk are discarded into a strip cup. Then the goat is milked into a stainless steel milking buckets either manually or with a milking machine. After milking the teats are dipped in a commercial chlorohexidine-based teat dip.
After all the goats are milked, the milk is carried in a covered milk tote to our processing facilities and poured through a filter into individual, sanitized bottles. Bottling of the milk into individual jars that have been sterilized takes place daily. The jars are lidded immediately and placed into a commercial refrigerator to chill rapidly to 35 to 40 degrees (F).
Jars are washed in a commercial grade dishwasher prior to filling. Jar washing may take place up to three days prior to filling. All equipment is sterilized immediately before use with a chlorine solution and air-dried.
We have our milk tested monthly at Microbial Research Inc lab in Fort Collins. Milk testing includes: