Proper milking procedure


One of the most important daily tasks in goat and sheep milk producing farms is milking. In semi-extensive/extensive rearing systems, milking is usually done manually, while in semi-intensive/intensive rearing systems, milking is done with machines (in a milking parlor). In any case, the adoption of mechanical milking is the best choice for the production of healthy and high quality milk, but also to ensure the health of the udder and the quality of work of the breeder.

Requirements for proper milking:

  • suitable layout of the animal waiting area
  • education and training of personnel
  • observance of standard milking procedures
  • cleanliness and hygiene of the milker, the animals and the milking parlor
  • suitable technological equipment

Standard milking procedures

  1. We determine and observe the daily milking schedule (2 or 3 milking sessions per day).
  2. We lead the animals to the milking parlor without rushing. Handling should be gentle, without the exercise of force. Loud voices and whistles should be avoided, because they stress (frighten and upset) the animals out.
  3. We thoroughly wash our hands, dry them and then wear disposable gloves.
  4. We palpate and massage the udders to detect any lesions and to stimulate the secretion of milk.
  5. If the udder is found to be red, hot, swollen or painful, it could imply mastitis, so we mark the animal, to milk it separately at the end. After milking an animal with mastitis, we must change our gloves or disinfect them.
  6. If the nipples are dirty, we wash and wipe them with an individual paper towel.
  7. Milk the first 2-3 rays of milk in a special cup with a grated bottom of black color to detect the presence of clots. In case of clots, there is a chance of mastitis, and process 5 must be followed.
  8. We place the nipple shields to the appropriate number of animals, to be able to efficiently monitor the progress of milking.
  9. Nipple shields shall remain on the animals, until udders are empty of milk. This takes about 2-3 minutes, depending on the animal’s milk production,
    their udder, and the operation features of the milking parlor. Extended use of nipple shields, after udder emptying, may cause mastitis.
  10. Before removing the nipple shields we drain the udder, to remove any milk left, avoiding excess milking, however.
  11. We then remove the nipple shields from the udder, after deactivate the vacuum inside. The removal of the nipple shields must be done
  12. After removing the nipple shields, we check the animals to see which ones have milk again.
  13. After milking the group, we disinfect the nipples with the use of special disinfectants.
  14. We patiently remove the animals from the milking parlor. Handling should be gentle, without the exercise of force.
  15. Before milking the next group, we wash our gloves, disinfect and dry them.
  16. We follow the aforementioned milking procedures for the next groups.
  17. When milking of the entire herd is complete, we place the shields in the special slots, wash and disinfect the milking parlor using the appropriate disinfectants and according to the procedures provided by the manufacturer of the milking parlor.


What are we checking at the milking parlor

  1. the height of the air vacuum (38-39 mmHg)
  2. the number of beats per minute (120-180 in sheep 70-120 in goats)
  3. the condition of the udders (dry, torn, cracked nipple shields should be replaced). The change of the nipple shields must correspond to the number of milkings or the hours of operation of the milking parlor and in accordance with the specifications of the parlor’s manufacturer.
  4. the operation of the pulsators
  5. the process of cleaning the milking parlor in three stages: washing - disinfection - rinsing
  6. the temperature of the water during the disinfection of the milking parlor (approximately 70°C)
  7. the dilution of the disinfectants used for the disinfection of the milking parlor
  8. regular change of filters
  9. its total condition and operation at regular intervals and in any case before the start of the milking period.


What are we checking during milking:

  1. observe the milking procedures described above
  2. the behavior of the milkers and the animals’ reactions
  3. the number of milking units per milker (8-12)
  4. the average duration of milking per animal (2-3 minutes)
  5. the average duration of milking per group of animals (10-15 minutes)
  6. the total duration of milking (1,5-2 hours)
  7. fixed is the daily milking schedule
  8. the frequency and efficiency of cleaning and disinfection of the milking parlor.


Collection and preservation of milk at the farm

Regarding milk preservation at the farm:

1) Preservation in an ice box. The ice box MUST:

  • be kept clean, dry and tightly closed
  • be thoroughly washed and disinfected with the recommended disinfectants after being emptied, and before accepting milk again
  • be checked in terms of temperature and kept at 3-4° C, as long as it has milk in it.

Milk may NOT be kept for more than 24 hours.


2) Preservation in churns. Milk churns MUST:

  • be thoroughly washed after being emptied
  • be stored at a clean and shady space
  • be kept at shady spaces until delivery and
  • be cooled down (with running water). The milk temperature must within 2 hours drop below 10°C, otherwise it must be delivered to a collection station.
  • Milk must be filtered (drained) properly immediately after milking, to remove any pieces falling during manual milking.
  • Milk may NOT be kept for more than 24 hours.


Dr. Georgios Samouris
Director of Research

Dr. Ioannis Sakaridis
Commissioned Researcher

Dr. Athanasios Gelasakis
Assistant Professor AUA


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