Working in a Milky Way

Apologies to OMD for changing their song title,

but it’s one of the Milkforce’s favourite songs when we’re all working in the parlour together.  There’s a new ‘boogie box’ in the Dairy Complex parlour which means I’ve been able to reinstate my CDs (only the radio worked in the Kidding Shed palour) albeit I’ve put them somewhere safe so that if our cheeky Milkforce ever did get out, at least they couldn’t dictate my taste in music by trampling on or chewing over the select majority (which they did, once, in the old building – chaos). 

Today we walked the girls through the Dairy Complex parlour for the first time, although we’re still using the bucket milker until the last few bits & pieces arrive for the new equipment. 

So overnight we’ve gone from this….

Kidding Shed Parlour

Kidding Shed Parlour

….to this: 
Dairy Complex Milking Parlour

Dairy Complex Milking Parlour

However today this massively labour-saving parlour wasn’t quite as efficient as it certainly will prove to be: the girls had to be taught an entirely new routine including walking up a ramp rather than jumping onto a stand; turning sideways to feed; leaving the parlour in a different direction to that in which they arrived; going down another (steep) ramp; & generally getting used to the different sights, sounds & smells of the new establishment. 
Subsequently the whole operation from start to finish took around two-and-a-half hours; as we could only bring the girls into the parlour in pairs, & some of them were a little nervous.  However we carefully worked out in what order the goats would go in, with the most confident ones (Armeria, Wolfie, Vine & Ninny) working initially so that all of us could get used to it together (it’s as new for us as it is for them, after all!).  Then we paired up the more confident girls with their nervous, flighty friends (making sure they do get on well with each other in addition) which also helped a great deal: Aggie with Rally, Aloe with Apricot, Agro with Eek etc.  
Our goats also trust us implicitly & gained a lot of confidence from our quiet encouragement, the majority polishing off a full breakfast as usual & with no accidents or mishaps whatsoever.  It certainly helps to have such an intimate knowledge of each & every member of the herd – nor would we want it to be any other way. 
And cleaning up after milking was so much quicker & easier!  So even though extra time & patience were required today, we deemed the overall effort to be a great success – & as the Milkforce (& us!) increasingly get to grips with the new routine, we know that from now on, milking will be a dream to breeze through.
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About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, Dairy, Diary, Farming, Goats, Life, Livestock, September 2008, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Working in a Milky Way

  1. paula says:

    This looks so smart. How are you and Milkforce finding it? It’s funny how the state of the art takes getting used to and just sometimes (only sometimes!) you wonder why you changed.

    When I was in France learning cheese making (many years ago) we milked in a rotary parlour – very swish back then. the majority of goat herds I visited and worked on were zero grazed, all forage being cut and brought to them. I think we were milking about 200 goats. The dairy, by contrast, was quite extraordinary – cobble floors, unplastered walls and a little Bunsen burner to heat up the sugar for crème caramel – we all wore sabot and smoking (fags) was the norm! I had the great honour of exporting the first British male Anglo Nubian to France!

  2. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Hi Paula –

    it’s fantastic, thanks: incredible how much time we’re saving. And the goats love it – light & comfortable with excellent ventilation. The old shed by comparison was dark, cramped with much less flowthrough of air, so this is a far healthier environment for the Milkforce.

    Wow, a rotary parlour….one of these days we’ll get one, when we either win the lottery or make a fortune with the gelato (ha ha)! Nevertheless even though we don’t have that particular luxury the actual milking equipment we have is the most advanced available for any species (bar robotic systems which they don’t yet do for goats) – so we’re pretty chuffed to have it.

    I believe the majority of herds in the UK are zero grazed (especially the larger ones) which is a shame, as the girls love going out when the weather is dry. Sounds like a bizarre place in France, I bet they’re all still smoking in their sabots & even if the dairy’s been upgraded they still seem so much more relaxed on the continent, than we are here; not that it’s a bad thing mind you.

    Haven’t got round to keeping anything other than BTs as yet, we already need several stud males to ‘mix & match’ our small herd; so we’ll focus on this breed for now – although I would love some ANs eventually: great milk, hilarious characters & oh, those wonderful colour schemes…!

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