I think these were originally made for emergency situations to milk mares. I would use with caution if at all. Machine milkers are designed to release some of the suction between pulses. in this set up you could theroretically increase the pressure on the teat with each "squeeze". As someone who has owned teats for a number of years OUCH! I also believe (although many would argue) that handmilking is the least damaging to the goats teats and reduces the possible introduction of bacteria into a teat orifice enlarged excessively by excess suction. Of course in a situation where handmilking is not possible I suppose a pressure valve could be incorporated to relieve any excessive suction. If hand milking is not an option over the long term I would suggest making the investment in a real milking machine to avoid health problems. Some goats with damaged orifices will not be able to fill with milk, it will just leak out.
Joined: Jun 27, 2008
Location: Western Suburbs, Illinois
I second that OUCH!
On behalf of females and goats everywhere, I object!
But seriously, why have a milk producing goat if you can't milk her by hand? I am ignorant about this - so forgive me if I am just not getting it. But wouldn't you have secure the goat in one place to attach the milking apparatus and then work the pump from some vantage point that is pretty close by anyway?
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Joined: Jun 26, 2008
monica- for me the only reason to not hand milk a goat is if you have so many that it would take too long and in that case you need a real milking machine anyway. I really don't see why anyone able to work a hand pump couldn't also hand milk. Those squirt bottles make my hand hurt and cramp if I use them too much. I can milk 3 does in a row and only have to shake my hands out a few times due to tension. These are really better suited to emergency mare milking situations or in a situation where the goats teats are teeny tiny but she needs to be milked out asap to get colostrum or something of that nature. Its a creative idea, just not really applicable in most real world situations.
Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Location: Oakland, CA
The retailer's site says they're for dwarf goats, and require a larger cup for use on full-sized goats. Maybe the smaller size is the reason?
They also mention colostrum, in passing.
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Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
I made a hand-goat milker a few years ago to use on a yearling first freshener with tiny teats. I only had to use it for a few weeks before her teats grew enough that I could hand milk her. IMO, that's the best use for the things. I wouldn't keep a mature doe with teats that small -- I want to be able to hand-milk my goats. But sometimes a new milker will have small teats, and that's where one of these little milking 'machines' comes in handy. It wasn't easier to milk with the device than it is to milk by hand, but it made the job go a lot faster (and I did have to get each teat started, and then strip each side out by hand).
Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Location: Oakland, CA
Another simple item along similar lines is the Henry milker, reviewed here by Novella Carpenter of Ghost Town Farm:
Interestingly, the review, and the consensus of the commenters, is that this tool is not as fast, easy, or good as a skilled milker. The real use they see for it is in allowing an unskilled helper (or one who doesn't relate to that particular animal) to take over milking duties when the usual milker is away.
Joined: May 27, 2009
Location: Western Washington
After a six or seven year break, I've recently gotten back into milking (I bought a nice first freshener LaMancha in September).
In my previous goat-milking life, I had never heard of these little hand-held milkers. Now, I see people (including the woman I bought my new doe from) swearing by them. But I'm of the same opinion already mentioned - that having to squeeze the milker by hand would be just as hard (if not harder) on the hand than regular milking would be.
I am a one-handed milker (a work injury left my right hand virtually useless), and I have arthritis in my left hand, and it only takes me a few minutes to milk my doe out by hand.