What makes a good milk room?

I am going to start a blog series about the components that make a great milk room.  Originally, I milked in our open barn next to the goat stalls until we could upgrade and create an area dedicated to the milking process.  Every year we made little upgrades and now I have what I consider to be an ideal milk room and often get asked about it and what should be included in a milk room.  My milk room now promotes efficiency and cleanliness and we made strategic decisions to ensure this.  The more efficient your milking area is, the easier it is to stay consistent in your routine.  And staying consistent in your routine is very important to not taking shortcuts when it comes to your milking and cleaning procedures.

One note to make is that our milk room is ideal for us but may not be ideal for you.  Use what infrastructure and resources you have paired with your needs.  We milk 3-9 goats and process no more than 3 gallons of milk per day at peak.  Your milk room may need to process 20 gallons of milk and a lot more goats.  Parts of what I share can be applied to your setup but you will need to adjust it to your needs as well.

Before I talk about the components that make up the milk room, I am going to start with what your milking area should be no matter what kind of infrastructure you have.

  1. Clean – Take care and diligence in keeping the area clean to eliminate excess bacteria from your milking area.
  2. Free of manure and debris – Keeping your stalls and bedding clean, keeping hooves trimmed, and brushing your animals are steps you can take to limit the amount of manure and debris that is brought into your milking area.
  3. Dedicated to milking – Ideally your milking area is used ONLY for the milking process to limit the exposure of bacteria to your milk.
  4. Be proud to show it off – You milking area doesn’t have to be anything fancy but you should be proud of the space and it should be functional for the task at hand.
  5. Act like you have a customer coming for a tour every day – If you follow the same process every day to clean up your milking area then it is not a big deal if a customer shows up because your area is clean and tidy.  You want your customers to feel safe and confident about buying milk from you, the condition of your milking area speaks volumes to the cleanliness of your milk.

 

This is a picture from 2008 after we just bought our property and converted a 2 sided carport into a barn.  We built stalls and then made a makeshift milking area that worked to start.  We were not selling milk, only drinking for our own personal consumption and kept it as clean as we could.

 

This is a current picture of the milking side of our milk room, quite the step up from the picture above!  This transformation did not occur overnight and was the product of many years and many changes all with this end vision in mind.

Throughout these posts I will highlight a component of the milk room and talk about why we chose what we did and how it makes our milking process more efficient.  I would love to hear your input or questions as you read these posts.

Thanks!

Cristen