Sheep milking is one of the little pleasures in life. It is a beautiful moment on the franch when shepherd and sheep work together as partners. In the beginning milking time resembled a rodeo event, but after a few weeks everyone learned their parts gracefully. Once you learn how to milk sheep, you will be part of a small but growing group of people who have discovered the deliciousness of sheep milk!
Milking takes practice and strength. Don’t be discouraged if you feel as intimidated as a kid behind the wheel for the first time. You will get it! Check out the video below for a quick step-by-step look at how to milk sheep.
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Tools of the trade:
- Stainless steel bucket – I review a couple here
- Milk stand or some way to restrain the ewe
- Teat dip – we prefer a sanitary wipe down before milking
- Clean hands
- Glass jars – sanitized
- Strainer – we use a stainless steel strainer lined with a paper towel. We have tried filters, but the towel works better for us
- A little bit of patience
Milking is a squeezing motion. A sheep’s udder is like a funnel with the milk draining into the teat. Your job is to trap the milk in the teat, and squeeze it into the bucket. If you don’t close off the teat firmly, you can feel the milk spill back into the udder.
We milk facing the back of our ewe. Her teat position makes it uncomfortable to milk from behind. Try milking from different positions till you get one that works for you.
Cleanliness is very important. Try to keep debris out of the milk, and always clean your milking utensils as soon as you can. Milk residue is like glue.