Goat farming and the milking techniques have advanced over the years with man farmers abandoning the traditional hand milking and adopting the modern machine milking methods. There are, however, numerous goat milking machines in the market from the many manufactures, all with different features and specifications. This makes the acquisition of the right goat milking machine very difficult due to the wide varieties in stores to choose from. Nevertheless, below are some of the essential features and factors to consider to ensure you got the right goat milking machine.
The number of goats on your farm
This is an essential factor to consider since some farmers often have many goats milked for commercial purposes while others have small numbers for domestic purposes. This consideration will help in narrowing down the goat milking machine in that; you will not purchase a bigger and a powerful milking machine suitable for many goats for just a small number of goats which can be adequately milked using a smaller machine. This will also save on the money since bigger goat milking machines tend to cost more compared to the smaller machines, thus avoiding potential wastage of money.
Goat’s teat size
It is important to pay attention to teat size when choosing the right milking machine. Goats generally require smaller teat cups compared to other animals like cows to ensure that the cups fit perfectly to the tits and do not result in unnecessary consequences like damage to the teats or leaks. Averagely, a 20mm teat cup size is always recommended, but this is not always a constant as some goats may have larger or smaller teats. Some may even be dwarfs with completely different teat sizes.
The milking machine type
Milking machines comes in different types such as electric, gas or manually operated goat milking machines. Electric machines are always preferred by farmers preparing to milk large numbers of goats since it is convenient when balancing between cost and power. However, this requires constant monitoring since they have to be plugged in and out of power.
Gas-powered milking machines are however costly in terms of maintenance despite providing the best suction power for much bigger farms practicing massive milking.
There are also battery-powered units which are often convenient for small farm owners are much cheaper too.
A handful of goats may warrant for a manually pumped goat milking machine. Domestic farmers prefer it since it is by far the most cost-effective milking machine. It is therefore essential to choose the type of machine that best fits your herd numbers while maximally being cost-effective in terms of power consumption, production and maintenance.
The suction capability
Suction power for these machines is an essential feature to consider because their varied power comes with a set of consequences. For instance, a much powerful goat milking machine engine will replicate a much powerful suction which despite saving on time by milking faster, may damage the goat’s teat causing infections. Similarly, the low suction power will operate slower and may even not get the milk from the udder.
Therefore, choosing a machine with suction power moderation capabilities or one previously calibrated to natural hand suction range will be vital when purchasing a goat milking machine. This will ensure that the goat is comfortable and healthy during and after milking.
This feature is also very important because it often determines the health of the goat as well as the integrity of the produced milk. The goat’s hygiene and the general milking environment’s hygiene needs to be clean. This, therefore, warrants for an easy to clean and dry milking machine during and after milking. This is because, the residual water or other potential contaminants may lead to inflammations and even infections of the goat’s udder, leaving the goat in immense pain and affecting the milk production.
There are also some machines specially designed to offer sanitizing spray cleaning pre and post milking; they are however recommended for large scale goat farmers.
This is an essential feature to consider since it may determine the durability and the smooth operational nature of the machine. The materials used more so around the teats needs to be silicon or related materials for the smooth and painless milking process. The entire machine also needs to be made from quality materials; thus, when made of plastic parts, then they need to be quality plastics, durable for long-lasting use and also safe for the goat and the milk produced.
The portability of the machine
The goat milking machines often come in different sizes and shapes. Thus, some are very heavy and therefore immobile while others are very light, enabling easy portability from place to place and every day milking. This feature is convenient for consideration since farmers with small numbers of goats may often require mobility, thus the need for portable goat milking machines. On the contrary, large scale farmers need large and very powerful machines which are often very heavy, therefore immobile and non-portable. Thus before acquiring a goat milking machine, you need to consider whether you will need a portable milking machine or a stationary one for maximal convenience.
These machines are vital to all farmers engaged in goat milking practice due to their numerous benefits. For instance;
- They are faster than hand milking thus saving on time
- They save on labour expenses
- They are cost-effective in terms of balancing between power consumption and production
- They cover both small and large scale goat farmers
- They guarantee increased milk quality
- They reduce dependency on skilled farmworkers
Goat milking machines are, therefore, vital in a farmer’s life. This is because they present with numerous conveniences to the farmer. Nevertheless, these benefits may only be realized upon the acquisition of the best and the right goat milking machine. This, however, requires careful consideration to the factors mentioned above; hence, you should prioritize them before committing to one goat milking machine.