Marble Creek Acres

Craft wine & tasting room, farm store, and quality Kiko goats!!!

0 items
You have no items in your shopping cart.

Go(a)t Milk!

Milk two teats or plug one end to milk just one teat
By Amelia Crise

By Amelia Crise

Featured in the November issue of Goat Rancher (page 25-26).

Featured in the November issue of Goat Rancher (page 25-26).

The weeks and the days leading up to the Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale in Corydon, Indiana are always filled with much excitement. As we mentioned in September’s Goat Rancher, we love road trips and all that comes along with them. This year is no different. We have been cooped up in Northern Maine for far too many months at this point. With news that the sale would surely be on, the planning commenced. Instead of heading straight to Indiana this year, we took the more scenic route: a chance for goat peeping, chatting and discussing goats, their purpose on our farm, goals for the upcoming year and breeding season, and an opportunity to connect with people along the way.

Our first day on the road consisted of a scenic, small town drive across New Hampshire and Vermont. We ended in Waterbury, Vermont where we checked out the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard the next morning before getting on the road. Here we discussed how yummy goat’s milk ice cream might be. Our next day on the road, we took the ferry across Lake Champlain to New York (which is where our article takes a turn), then headed for the Whiteface Mountains, where we drove to the top to eat our lunch. We did not eat our lunch as it was 40 degrees up there and the wind was whipping hard enough that we steered clear of the edges. Instead, we drove back down, ate in the truck, and made our way to east of Rochester for the night. Our last day on the way to Indiana we headed for our cousins in Ohio and my parents’ family friend David from the Navy, whom we hiatus with each auction road trip. This trip will surely be another for the books. It has been an interesting one, wearing masks everywhere we go and using hand sanitizer like it is going out of style. There have also been many laughs and oopsies, including dumping an entire super large A&W Root Beer float all over the floor of the year old Tacoma (I won’t let on who pulled that one, dad!)

As I sit in the front seat of our Sandstone Tacoma with the Chromebook in my lap, my dad driving, my mom handing out hand sanitizer and snacks from the back seat, with the Goat Tote strapped on back, waiting for some new additions we will hopefully add to our farm, I think about my favorite part of road tripping with the Goat Tote. Hauling a Goat Tote undoubtedly brings many questions to those passing by, which we have all come to love. Many don’t even know what we are carrying, and often stop to ask us if the tote is for dogs. Sometimes, however, when passerbys have read our magnets and see the tote is for goats, they show genuine curiosity in what we are doing. On some occasions we even field questions like, “Do you raise dairy or meat goats?”

One such example just happened on this trip. As we ferried across Lake Champlain, very surprisingly, in this Covid world, a woman was so curious she got out of her car with her mask on to come talk to us through our window. She said, “I saw your magnets and got on your website” (very cool by the way), “and I was just wondering, do you raise dairy goats too or just meat goats?” This initiated a 30 minute conversation with us, just chatting goats and supporting, of course, Kikos but also letting her make her own decision about the breed’s merits. It is always very cool for us to chat Kikos, not just on our road trips, but in general. When a conversation starts with this question, of course, it always makes us wonder whether we are getting ready to get a tongue lashing for raising meat goats or if most people just always assume they must do milk too.

Generally speaking, we are a meat goat operation. However, that being said, we do dabble in milking every so often. While there are six adults that live in our home, none of us have time to regularly milk our goats. Nevertheless, we are stopped all the time, and the chat often turns back to discussing an easy way to milk goats. Given Kikos are dual purpose, for us, it was important to find the right way to support a conversation on milking, have some direct experience, and be able to offer a solution to potential buyers.

Go(a)t Milk!

Our operation revolves around ease. Everything we do is in hopes of making things easy for us. So when we do milk, it is important that we have an easy and quick way to do so, so that it is less a chore, and more a neat task, that in the end, produces something yummy for us to eat or drink. In doing our research early on, we came across a milking kit from Dansha Farms that has allowed us to turn what is generally known as a laborious chore, into a fun five minutes, where we get some up close and personal time with the ladies giving us the fruits of their labors.

One of the kits they have produced is a quart jar, connected to two tubes that connect to two teat suction cups, with another tube that is connected to a brass vacuum pump. This is a very simple, but an expertly thought out product. Their website notes that this kit is perfect for those who might have arthritis, or those who simply don’t like to hand milk. The kit has also proven itself on our farm, as an addition to our operation with ease goals. This article is by no means a product review, merely a go at giving our readers another way to simplify their operation.

The kit is incredibly reliable, and as Dansha Farms points out on their website, it is very hard to mess up with this style pump; “With just a few easy squeezes of the pump you will be milking in no time” ( You simply bring up the vacuum until a certain pressure and wait for the milk to flow. You stop pumping, and as the pressure drops, to ensure the flow, you squeeze the pump to bring the pressure back up. Easy as that. Pump until you’ve acquired the desired amount.

Another reason why we love this product is that it requires no batteries or electricity to operate it. This is an important feature for us. We are by no means preppers, we do, however, believe in being prepared, should something happen in the future, where we may all lose power. Self sufficiency is one of the main goals of our operation. Another goal of our column is to bring to light some of the simple ways one can work off grid if necessary. Whether you are a prepper or a homesteader, this milker kit is a great solution to millking with ease both on and off grid.

While we primarily produce meat goats, it is important that we have an effortless way to milk if need be. Maine winters can be quite harsh, especially during the months of January and February. We generally aim to kid in March; one, because we are usually on school break at this time, and two, because March is a bit milder, which is easier on the goats, but more importantly, easier on the humans. With this vacuum pump system, we have a quick way to milk during the cold winter months. We then freeze the milk. Then we have milk on hand if we find it necessary to help a kid out. This rarely happens, so after the kids are weaned, we can thaw the milk and use it to make cheese. Goat cheese and crackers is one of our favorite snacks. Someday we would also like to try our hand at yogurt, and maybe even soap.

We talked to less people this road trip to Corydon, likely because of Covid-19, but nevertheless, we still talked to plenty of people about our operation. We will always enjoy the curious looks as cars go speeding by then slow to take a look at the goats peeking out the back including the New York State Troopers somewhere along the New York Thruway! Perhaps those passing by are checking out our website as they speed along!

(Josh and Kathy Crise, and their grown children, Amelia and Kevin, operate Marble Creek Acres in Lee, Maine. For interest in a future year’s Kiko waitlist, questions or if you have topics you might like to read about in a future Goat Rancher, we can be reached at 207-619-3758, email [email protected] or