Ever since I was 11 and saw my first baby goat on the Captain Kangaroo show I have been goat crazy. So with that in mind, what would be my dream job? Milking goats in a real milking parlor with a cheese room attached. The other day that dream became a reality when I went over to Herron Hill Dairy to learn part two in the relief milker training. I had already learned the routine when hand milking was needed (I mean really, you are talking to the 1977 Pierce County Fair Goat Milking Champion) but I needed to master the milking machine...something I had never done. First off I had to enter the cheese room and remove my outside shoes, I was then presented with my own pair of milking parlor shoes. There can be no outside contamination in the cheese/milk room. Everything is white and clean and stainless steel. It's the real deal.
The goats are trained to go up a ramp and enter one by one through a special door. I was instructed to NEVER...NEVER...NEVER leave the latch undone between goats because the goats would open the special door and let themselves in to be milked...then all hell would break loose in the parlor. Needless to say I forgot to latch the door. The goatfarmer kindly pointed that out to me before the hell broke loose.
One by one the does filed in to be milked. The hardest part was remembering all the steps. It's enough to make me obsessive-compulsive. Did I wash that udder? Did I dip that teat? Did I latch the door? OMG, what am I doing outside in my inside shoes?
I shall take you through the routine.
1. Let goat in. Latch door. Tell the goat how pretty she is.
2. Clip goat to the stand and give her some grain.
3. Wash and disinfect udder. Don't forget to dry said udder.
4. Attach suction cups on teats. Sometimes this is easy...sometimes like in the case of a bulbous teat, not.
5. After the milk stops flowing remove suction cups and clear the milk out of them.
6. Now comes what I call the spa treatment. Dip teat with teat dip and then apply udder cream and give the udder a good rub-a-dub. Tell the goat how wonderful she is to share her milk.
7. Open up second door and let the doe out of the parlor. Sometimes they fly out sometimes you have to give them a good shove. Goats aren't dumb. They like a good supply of grain and a spa treatment.
8. Repeat as many times as there are milkers.
So I think I did pretty good if we don't count the spilled teat dip and the over zealous udder cream application and a few twisted milking lines. Or the fact that Lucy peeked into the milking parlor and saw a tall relief milker that she wanted no part of, entered the room like a freight train, and took a flying leap right into the middle of the grain tub sending grain flying in all directions. I must remember to bring Swedish Fish next time to persuade her to come into the parlor and act like a lady.
I had no time to take pictures....this is the real thing folks. I'm talking milking parlor, milk processing room and cheese parlor. Did I mention stainless steel?
So even though I have no pictures I did leave with this......