Today we took two of our milking goats into our brand new milking parlour for the first time. Until now we've been hand milking them twice a day while converting an old barn into a small, modern parlour, fit for producing milk to the highest hygienic standards. This was what it used to look like when it was used for storing old vehicles - as you can see, we had a lot of work to do! It's been really rewarding seeing it transformed back to a proper functional agricultural building.
Over five months this has gradually transformed, fitted with proper plumbing, new milking equipment and purpose built goat milking stalls, which we had to order from Greece as they are such a specialist item.
Our milking parlour is now ready to use, and today we took the first vital step - getting the goats used to coming into it and eating their dinner. Goats are always suspicious of changes and so getting them to walk up an unfamiliar ramp onto a clangy metal stand was always going to be a challenge! However with a little persuasion and the temptation of food and greenery we convinced them to give it a try and they were soon tucking in. Goats do quickly pick up new routines, especially when food is involved, so once they've done it a few more times they should settle into it all really well.
We haven't yet tried milking them with a machine rather than by hand as we want them to get really comfortable with coming into the parlour and eating there first, but we can't wait to try out the shiny new kit (see below).