Those of you in cold climates

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Kalne, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. Kalne

    Kalne New Member

    0's 17 here tonight. I am fortunate that I don't have to milk, my dear children get that pleasure. If it were me, I think we'd dry them all off after Thanksgiving. LOL But seeing as we had one kid just a couple months ago and we had some late spring kiddings it's not such a good idea. Soooo, what do you all do to make milking more bearable when the mercury dips so low? Do you have heated milk rooms? We tried using a heater for awhile but it really didn't help unless you were sitting right in front of it.

    I'm thinking of making some procedural changes. Like having two outside working together instead of 2 outside working with their own does on separate stands. Seems like it might be quicker for one to get does ready, 2nd child milks while 1st gets next doe ready, etc. Maybe even have a 3rd working to bring milk inside between girls and have another inside processing the milk. It would mean more working but overall I think it would take less time? Any tips to make the milking process go faster? We are down to 8 milking right now. Will be down to 6 by Christmas but that will be the lowest we'll get I think.
  2. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

    We're pretty cold here too...supposed to go down to 14 degrees tonight.

    Our two girls do dairy chores together, partly to make sure one isn't out there getting chilled to the bone, the other, because it is more fun to work together. :lol

    We are milking 7 right now, so one does the milking while the other does the feeding and the watering.
    Then in the evening, they reverse the roles. We also have two stands for milking, so one doe can be finishing her grain while the other is being prepped and milked.

    A couple of things we have done to make things more bearable:
    - bought the girls really nice winter/hiking boots that keep their toes toasty warm
    - have those little hunting/football seat pads that get warm when you sit on them
    - When the feeder/waterer is done, they check in at the milk room to see if they can take the milk in to be strained and refrigerated.
    - promises of hot chocolate when they get in! (or hot tea, now) Helps them keep up the pace!
    Sounds dumb, but I try to make sure they eat some toast or something before heading out the door. They have more energy and don't get quite so chilled if they eat.

    The Boers are either fed by me or by DS if it is too cold for them to work. My 12 year old does the watering. DS helps him water when he is home. We all pitch in on those really frigid days.


  3. New Member

    These poor abused freezing little children! :) LOL!!!

    Short sleeves today, my capri's were already packed away for winter or I would not have had on my jeans!

    With the wind chill here today it was a balmy 75 degrees! Vicki
  4. Kalne

    Kalne New Member

    Oh yeah, sure, Vicki. Rub it in. LOL!

    At least it looks like we'll have a white Christmas. :)
  5. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

    :biggrin I can't imagine. we sat around 23 most the day here today; not sure what it was with the wind chill

    I guess we count for a cold climate.

    For me it has been planning.

    1. When we built our new goat shed, I put a small alley in the middle and built feeders the girls must stick their heads through to get to. We walk in --no goats can reach us :biggrin--pour some pellets along the feeders on the right, some on the left, shut the door and leave.

    2. I have tried hard to plan for only one girl milking during dec. jan. feb. and that makes it tolerable for me. I am still at two now, but working hard to dry one up and should be down to one until the first of feb.

    3. I built milk stands for 5 capacity in the milk house. That speeds things up a ton for me. I no longer have to wait for anybody to finish eating! doesn't affect winter much as am not milking that many, but ...

    4. don't let the kids out for chores on the blizzardy days. I love them dearly, but the little guy slows me down a ton, if his brother gets to go out then it's only fair he does too and his sister has to stay in to keep the peace between the brothers :yeahthat

    5. I do all my feeding water stuff while the milker/s finish up their grain. so no down time.

    6. biggest thing that speeds me up is the cold!

    7. biggest incentive to keep on trucking through milking...milking one doe doesn't add much to chores for me and I have to go out their and feed them anyhow. also it's the one and only type of milk my 6 yr. old isn't allergic to and pre-goat milk we were spending $50/month on five different types of milk for 5 people due to diff. allergies :help2 cooking made me just :crazy
  6. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

    It gets really cold here in winter, especially when it's dark out. I do not have a heated milking parlor. I milk the goats in what used to be a garage. Yeah, the cars get to live outside and the garage is now a combo storage/milking area. I have only one milk stand. I bring the does in two or three at a time so they can all eat grain while they are milked one at a time. We wipe, rather than dip the teats, so the goats don't get sore and cracked. We also do not shave udders in the winter. The warm udders and teats keep my hands warm enough when I'm milking. I wear lots of layers including Duofold long underwear. I breed to start kidding in early March, so we generally dry them all up early January to give ourselves a break. I'm not a milk drinker and we have enough cheese made up to last us through the dry period.
  7. It's not quite as bad here, 23 degrees, but thats still cold enough. I put little hotties in my pants pockets and the little hottie foot warmers in my boots. And lots of layers under a good pair of coveralls. Lindseys hands get cold and her nose but other wise she's toasty.
    I like the eating somrthing warm idea. will have to try that. If it makes a difference than I'll do it.
  8. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    Don't envy any of you up there. Turned cold here today low 40's with wind and rain I layered up and hurried with chores is all I can say. Made sure I took hot water out to wash teats so it would be nice and warm for them. Don't have heat out there.
  9. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Member

    Trisha, you just keep those temps for a while, ok? :)

    It's a balmy 27 F here today. Just sorta gray outside. We've only been down to 0 once this year so far.

    I don't know much of what to say -- we're so used to living in this, that 30F seems pretty darn warm. I generally end up sweating by the time I'm done milking, so though I go out in a jacket, I'm usually down to a sweatshirt over a t-shirt by the time I'm finished.

    As long as you're out of the wind, it's not so bad. We haven't insulated our milk room yet, but it's on the list of things to do. If it's really bad, we'll turn on the propane cooker -- or if we know we're going to be out there (like during kidding season) we build a fire in the stove in the attached shop.

    I take a bucket of hot soapy clorahexadine water out to wash udders with. We use a new washcloth on every doe. If it is really cold, I will dry off teats after we dip them, but it hasn't gotten that cold yet.
    Our girls are hairy too, but they usually have enough "clean teat" space that getting them wet really isn't an issue.
    We milk 3 at a time, so now that we're down to only 3 milking 2x a day, and 6 at night, we speed right through. They all stay on the stand until that whole group is milked.

    Water is my biggest hassle right now because my hose is frozen solid :( I need to build a fire in the shop and drag it in there I suppose. I threw my knee out again hauling water to the does on the sled last night.

  10. Dover Farms

    Dover Farms New Member

    I am not sure how cold it got last night, but the weather guy says we are supposed to 1/4 in. of freezing rain! :/ Nice.... :sigh
  11. Halo-M Nubians

    Halo-M Nubians New Member

    Well, my milk house is tiny 12x8..not insulated yet but I have a heater on a timer that comes on before I get out there to milk and runs for awhile. It makes it bearable. I keep my udder wipes in a baby wipe warmer which keeps them from freezing. Once I get the place insulated I will probably keep it above freezing with electric heat, which will be nice. I couldn't live without all my heated buckets, stock tank de-icers ect. I haul some water but not to far and most my tubs are big enough to last at least a couple of days. My 16 gallon tub is awesome it stays so warms it puts out a cloud of steam and the goats drink really well, even when its super cold. I hate it cause the goats shiver and shake so bad but have found that nothing seems to help much, but lots of hay to eat and buddies to sleep with. I start kidding in Feb this year and I think I'm crazy, never done it earlier than march before and that can still be bad..what was I thinking!

    Forgot to add that dh wore hawaiian shorts to church today :nooo
  12. Ravens Haven

    Ravens Haven New Member

    It has been around 32 all week and today it is 76 what the crap is going weird
  13. Knotneer

    Knotneer Guest

    It was officially -22 in town, neighbors had -30. That's actual temp, not windchill.

    It takes me about an hour to do all the barn chores and milking.The milk room is unheated & uninsulated. I have a big down coat, ski pants and a Mad Bomber fur hat. Looks weird, but I don't get cold.

    Goat teats are warm! No problems there. Like Trish's goats, mine are "all natural" this time of year. If it's below zero, I don't wash or post-dip. At that temp, I feel I'm doing more harm than good with possible chapping or frostbite.

    I did have to set up a milkhouse heater in the milk room on Friday. We had DHIA test and the tester's pen and printer ink kept freezing!

    Tank and bucket heaters are essential, and when it's this cold, I'll haul hot water out to the barn four or five times. Sometimes I'll put a little molasses or mint flavor & make some "goat tea."
  14. Truly

    Truly New Member

    In Powell, Wyoming it's currently 24.

    I have 2-40 gallon rubber tanks with de-icers to keep the water from freezing. We usually have to refill every other day. We drain the hose and put it in the garage so that it's not frozen solid for the next filling.

    No milking here. I dried them up last month. I've got a freezer full of milk so I don't have to worry about that. Of course, I cannot legally sell milk here, so I don't.

    There's no water or electricity in the barn, so heating isn't an option. The hunting/football cushion that heats up sounds real nice tho.

    My mystery bred doe could be due as early as January. I'm not looking forward to that in this cold climate. So we'll see.
  15. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

    I guess I should add that we do wool socks, hats, and long underwear.

    Goats udders are never shaved, except for show/appraisal. We put hot water in a bucket with Basic G (Biodegradable germicide. Theoretically you can eat it, but bleech...)
    Each does udder is washed with her own Bounty papertowel dipped in the solution.
    We have never had a case of mastitis (not counting Chardonnay who needed to be dry treated when receiving her last milking or would freshen with mastitis. We found out from the prior owner...from then on, never any problem.) so the system seems to be working for us.

    We too have tank heaters to reduce the water hauling. I would use the hose but DH frowns on hoses draining in his shop we haul to the troughs, and pens with smaller numbers of animals have buckets that get interchanged. The milkers get hot hot water that they drink when exiting the milk stand. I've never seen any of them shivering though. Maybe they have a thicker coat than Nubians? Or maybe they don't know the extra pampering they could panic me into if I saw them shivering! :rofl

  16. cheesewhiz

    cheesewhiz New Member

    :sniffle We have been having some winter weather in SW Utah, elevation over 5200 ft. Our coldest was -3*, two weeks ago. We got three inches of snow last light and snow flurries today. I spent last year's Christmas bonus on a 16 gallon heated water tub that is goat proof (though I still have to keep an old tire and upside down wheelbarrow over the cord outside the fence) That lasts my biggest pen for two days. I have no real barn - hutches in most pens and a lean-to for milking. I am using wet wipes for cleaning teats right now, but most of the year I just wipe the dry teats and udder with my hands. For my comfort it is layers and layers - depending on the current temperature. I am milking three does right now and two of those will be going dry next month, and the last one the first part of February. That should give me a month off from milking. My favorite foot gear is a pair of overshoes called Neos. They cost a fair amount , but they keep my feet so nice and warm. I consider most weather bearable if there isn't too much wind, but we get a lot of wind in this valley.
  17. in Michigan. We suppose to get an ice storm and about 20 tonight. That is fun when the milk truck gets here at about 2 in the morning. We dont have heat in our barn wither but when you have 20 bodies in the parlor there is really no need for heat. Most of the time at the end of milking I am in a sweatshirt. But, when out in the main barn...that is a different story.

    I dont change anything with milking in the winter then I do all year long. Just wash the udders, and post dip like normal. Though I do change dips in the winter months for a non barrier to a plain-jane iodine dip. By the time the jump off the milking platform and out the door...all the drips are gone. Also I have found that if you let them stand there just for a few minutes before you soaks in alot faster then putting it on right when the milkers come off.

    Well, I just hope that this cold weather is not that bad since, we have about 60 does due in the month of Jan. Then on top of that to get the lights on in the barn for fall fresheners. That is a joy...doing two things at once....kidding and breeding. But, the nice thing about the fall group is that they are pen bred. That helps out ALOT.

    Well lets all hope that the winter is not too LONG this year.

  18. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

    Oh, forgot to add...we all have coveralls and snow boots and hats :biggrin

    This year I am soo thankful for two new hydrants that are centrally located, so I only need a 10 ft. hose to get to all my pens. With the crazy blizzards and freezing weather last year we had to get some bred heifers up to our barn and set up panels (as we hadn't finished the corrall around our house yet) until we could get some trailers in and get them all out of here and to our other ranch. But 16 of them got left here for 2 wks. And I was hauling water for them by the 5 gal. bucket out of our bathtub and in snow so deep that I coudn't carry a bucket through :help2 boy was that crazy. It was snowing and blowing so bad we couldn't keep it cleared. I was clearing the sidewalk every hour. wouldn't mind a milk winter this year :D We were -3 yesterday morning, but glad we were not at -22 like knotneer, though we can see those temps.

    Am also thankful for the addition of electricity this year, which sure beats the lanturn on these early dark nights.

    I have been really impressed at the difference in temp. tolerances in my goats. I sold off all my nubians this year except a buck and am down to only saanens and sables. The nubians always shivered and if it wasn't a nice day they would stay inside their sheds all day long. They also slept in their sheds every single night. Now the saanens and sables seem to be really different. Up until this most recent wind and stormy weather they all were sleeping outside and even at -3 yesterday morning they were out chewing their cud and walking around. They are never shivering. Their coats aren't any thicker than the nubians were and the care and feed was the same. Oh...the one shiverer I have now is the buck...a nubian. ;)
  19. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

    Oh and the poor cows in that weather. Although in Texas, we do have our times of bad icey cold weather. I remember a few years ago we went over to feed the cows and the poor things were standing there with a couple inches of snowy icey slush on the ground and icecicles hanging off their hair, under belly, tail and ears. The girls (Does) I have wouldn't even poke their head out of their shed I'm sure. I don't milk through the winter. Too cold, not fun. I have to do basically everything myself so I stop in the fall and start again in the spring. :biggrin This year I'm starting early, in February and that tends to be a realy cold time here. Brrr... what was I thinking. I have an electric heater that I plug in out in the milk barn though. I set it on top of the filing cabinet right beside the milk stand and it blows right on me while I'm milking. My girls like warm water in the winter time also. I have a hot water heater out in the dairy barn and I just turn on the hot water at the sink and let it flow out the drain out the side of the barn into a bucket. They all stand around it and drink till their heart's content.
  20. Beverrlly

    Beverrlly New Member

    We're spoiled up here. We milk in DH's heated shop. Shop is kept about 40 degrees until we go in and crank up the heat. Then we get the goat to be milked and by the time you need to take your gloves off the heater brought the temp up to 50ish. For chores, we wear thick boots and coveralls with hats and gloves. Also have tank heaters in everyone's water. I always forget how much the winter stinks! It's been (with windchill) -30 to -35 every night! YUCK! Is it spring yet?