The first thing needed to produce fresh, sweet delicious milk are great goats. The vast majority of our goats have been born here on the ranch. This way we know exactly what has gone into their bodies from day one. We know exactly how much each goat is eating, what medications have been used, if any are needed. All of our goats are de-horned for safety of staff and the goats themselves.
Next is high quality (horse quality) feed. Our goats are on a primarily pelleted diet consisting of alfalfa pellets (17% protein) on the milking stand, an alfalfa/barley straw pellet (10% protein) in their stalls, and either a grass or grass alfalfa mix hay once a day. I only hay once a day as goats tend to waste a lot of hay, and without another animal like a horse to clean up it just isn't cost effective to feed more. Goats do require the ruffage to maintain a healthy rumen so please do not try to feed only pellets. They also receive several hours of natural browsing in the summer, when I virtually eliminate hay. During the winter I also add a small amount of beet pulp pellets to help maintain healthy weight during the pregnancy season.
Our goats are milked only by hand, twice a day. Milking times are generally between 6 and 7am and 4 to 5pm. Keeping to a schedule reduces stress to the goats. When we bring a goat into the milk room the first thing we do is get them settled on the stand where they are allowed to free feed on alfalfa pellets. I then sit down on the stool and clean the udder and belly with baby wipes. We keep udders shaved on our goats to reduce the amount of debris that can be accidentally dropped in the bucket. After a through cleaning we express two squirts of milk from each side and discard. This milk is where the bulk of any bacteria would be contained, if any actually entered the udder between milking's. We then milk out the goat. When we have all available milk out of the udder we then use hand sanitizer as a teat dip. I have found that this tends to work better than commercial teat dips, and on our farm we have only had one case of mastitis in twelve years, and that doe had a baby on her at the time. What you need to remember is the orifice remains open for about 30 minutes after milking.
Once milking is finished all milk is mixed in plastic covered cannisters, which when all goats are milked is then moved to the processing room. All milk is then strained using a commercial fiber milk filter, into glass half gallon jars. Jars are then moved to the refrigerator for cooling. All milk goes from goat to cooling in under an hour. Our refrigerator is kept below 40 degrees, which helps our milk stay fresh for nearly 3 weeks.
All milking equipment is then hand washed in bleach water to kill any bacteria. Everything is then air dried for the next milking.
We currently sell our milk straight to the general public. We offer free samples of many of our products at the farm. You can order your milk either online on this website, or via text message at 208 610 1747. We have a pick up point in Sandpoint every Wednesday at noon, at Farmin Park in the center of town. We are also considering an additional pickup point in Sagle soon.
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