Parts to the Milking Unit:
1. Milk Bucket....You can get one off of eBay. There are basically 2 kinds; the old belly pail Surge bucket milker that is shorter, wider and has a fixed handle on top. It holds approximately 2 to 2.5 gallons of milk.
And a DeLaval 5 gallon bucket. The prices vary on these items, just make sure you get one that isnít rusted, doesnít have any holes in it and is in usable condition.
2. Lid. If you can get the lid with the bucket that is great, if not youíll have to buy one separately. You can find these on eBay also. The surge bucket lids will fit on the DeLaval bucket. You will need to have a lid gasket that fits under the lid in order to produce a vacuum seal.
3. Pulsator. You have to get a pulsator that matches your lid. There are Surge pulsators with the "C" style and the "S" style. Make sure you know which style lid you have before you purchase your pulsator. You can get your pulsator from Hamby Dairy Supply. The last time I got one it was $55.00 for a reuilt one. The vacuum line nipples are on the front of the pulsator. The larger, single barbed port in the back is for your vacuum supply line going from your vacuum pump to the pulsator.
4. Check Valve. This is a little stainles steel valve that goes in the "spout" where the pulsator sits and it has a tiny rubber tip on it. If your lid doesnít have one you can get one from Hamby Dairy Supply for $8.00. Some lids also require you to have an "O" ring that sits over this spout seated at the bottom underneath where the pulsator fits onto the lid. If you have any questions you can email Paul Hamby and find out if your lid will need this "O" ring.
5. Lines. You will need Milk lines and vacuum lines. It depends on how many animals you are going to milk as to how many lines you need to hook up to your lid. I recommend just starting with milking one goat at a time until you have some experience under your belt. There are 4 nipples on the lid for milk lines. You will attach your milk lines to 2 of these and on the other 2 you will run a short piece (approx. 8 inches long) of milk line from one nipple over to the other one just to close it off since it isnít being used. You will repeat this process with the 4 nipples located on your pulsator. Milking one goat you will only use 2 of the vacuum lines, the other 2 nipples will be closed off using the same method as above. The milk lines are larger than the vacuum lines. Just take your pulsator and lid to Home Depot with you and try the different size clear tubing.
6. Teat cups. There are a couple different kinds of teat cups. There are the stainless steel ones and the clear plastic ones. I prefer the clear ones so I can see what is going on. Milking one goat you will need a pair or (2) teat cups. You might even want to get a goat claw to go on the bottom of your assembly. You also need an inline shut off valve. Most goats do not milk out both teats at exactly the same time. If one side finishes before the other, you can shut off the vacuum to that inflation with this valve. You will need to take a sharp needle and punch a hold in the line between the bottom of the black inflation and the in-line shut off valve in order to keep milk from sloshing back and forth.
7. Inflations. These are the black rubber or white silicone inserts that fit down into the teat cups. These are the actual thing that the goatís teats will fit down into to be milked. If they are not already put together when you purchase these items from Hamby Dairy Supply you need a little muscle to put the inflation down into the teat cup and pull it down into place. (See picture above.)
8. Vacuum pump. There are lots of styles and sizes out there. You can usually find pumps on eBay. If you have questions about how many cfm's you need for the particlar set up you are building please refer your question to www.dairygoatinfo.com. There are lots of knowledgeable people on there who understands this step. There are several people there who have built their own milkers using some of the information posted here who can help you.
9. Balance Tank. I have a large vacuum pump that I purchased several years ago that I use in my barn and I have a larger balance tank with a regulator to regulate the vacuum level and a vacuum gauge to monitor the amount of vacuum pull. On my small show pump that is pictured above it has a built in regulator and gauge on the pump itself and I built a small balance tank mostly to keep from sucking milk up into the pump should I not be paying attention and overflow my milk bucket. This is my home set up with pvc balance tank mounted on the wall.
On your balance tank there is a line that goes from the pump to the balance tank and one that goes from the balance tank to the back of the pulsator.
This is basically all you need to get started with a milking system. Please feel free to copy this information and pictures if it will help you get your milker built. Good Luck with your endeavour.
By: Christine Edwards
Cotton Eyed Does Dairy Goats, New Waverly, Texas