Saturday, December 19, 2009

Milk Parlor - Remodel

We finished the move to the new farm in September, 2008. I dried the milking does off and breeding season had started. By this time I had 32 does ready to breed. I put the bucks in with the does the first weekend of September.

In 5 months ... when the does started delivering their kids, I would need the milking parlor ready to milk in. We had a lot of work to do to get the barn and parlor ready!

The Barn had been built in 1940 and we started with the immediate needs of getting it repaired and dried in to be a safe place for the goat's shelter. Then it was time to turn our attention to the Milking Parlor that was built over 20 years ago and hadn't been miked in for many many years.

The Milking Parlor and Tank Room are attached to the big barn with a large covered shed connecting them.

Front of the Barn

Here is the back of the barn showing the covered shed connecting the Milk Parlor to the Barn.

Back of the Barn

Since the old Milking Parlor had been originally constructed to milk 4 cows on each side, we had to cut out a lot of the old metal piping in order to remodel it for the goats.

Ray cutting out some of the old pipes

We bought auto-lock calf stanchions to hold the goats while they were being milked. We had to modify them slightly by welding an additional pipe on each stanchion because the goat's heads are smaller than a calf head. There is room for 16 does to come into the milk parlor at once. They put their head through the opening to eat grain out of the feeders and the stanchion locks them in.

Ray installing the stanchions

Ray had a great idea for keeping the goats from jumping down into the pit with me while I milked ... he welded new hog panels onto the front of some of the old original upright pipes.

Ray welding the guard panels on.

Here I am cleaning up when he was finished with the cutting and welding.

Cleaning up

With the freezing cold days ... it took several weeks ... but we finally got it all put together!

The stanchions and guard panels installed!

We acquired an old Surge vacuum pump for the milking parlor. Ray build a vacuum line from pvc pipe that the hoses from the bucket milker connect to for making the pulsators and milkers work.

The Surge vacuum pump

Ray welded a pipe behind the stanchions for the feeders to hook over. This is where I put the grain that the goats eat while they're being milked.

The feeders are in place

There is a lever at the end of the stanchions that sets the auto-lock feature. As soon as the goats put their heads through the openings ... the top of the opening will lock into a grove in the top pipe. This holds them until the lever is raised up to release them. Here the lever is set and ready for the goats to come in.

The release lever

I have the 7 gallon stainless milk bucket all set up and ready for the goats to come running into the barn for grain and milking! My Dad build a wonderful cart for me that holds the milk bucket. This allows me to easily roll the bucket along as I move down the line of goats during milking time. You can also see in this photo that we have the old original upright pipes painted to match the new stanchions.

The parlor set up for milking

Everything is ready for the goats to come in for milking. The barn cats, Simba and Sheba, are giving it an inspection before letting the goats in.

Ready to milk!

Notice on the end wall ... that we have installed a propane wall heater in the milking parlor. That sure makes it more comfortable on these cold winter days!


Anonymous said...

Wow! Oh and I love your inspectors giving it the final walk through.

Feral Female said...

Very cool! Thanks for showing us the process. We only milk about 7 does here by hand so seeing a fully functional milking parlor for dairy goats was a treat!

Brenda said...

Thank you! I am enjoying sharing the process. 14 of my does had freshened before the milking parlor was finished and I was milking them by hand. It took about 2 hours to milk by hand ... morning and night. When the parlor was finished it only took 30 minutes from start to finish! Not only did it save so much time ... it saved my aching hands!

By the way - the "inspectors" help me milk every day! And, they keep the barn free from mice!

goatmilker said...

This is really neat. I had 50 goats and we were going to do the same thing. I decided to just milk my cows and we are down to 20 goats. We are going to eventually have only about 4 goats. The reason for the goats going is the kids are now showing cows at the fair and my husband raises feeder steers. Just was going to many directions still love my goats though. Good luck to you and have a great day Rebekah.

~Tonia said...

Having seen this in action my self I am impressed and if I was going to be milking more than I do I would be copying the design!!Lol Its a great job!!

Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Wow that is amazing! I've worked on many dairy farms in my life, from a 4 cow stanchion up to a 36 cow parlor!! I am so impressed with yours!

We have an Amish cheese herd not far from us and they milk about 65 goats at all times and of course milk them all by hand. Their milk parlor is about double the size of yours with one little milker on one side and one little milker on the about 33 head each twice a day BY HAND!!!!!!

The big dairy cows threw off a lot of their body heat to keep us warm in the parlor in the winter. Do the goats do the same? I have never had that many goats in one place before!!!

Thanks for sharing!!