Natural DIY Goat Teat Wash
A disinfecting teat and udder wash prevents mastitis in goats.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Raising goats naturally is quite simple. As the keeper of all things naughty, a herd of goats, I spend hours rotating pasture fencing in order to allow them to forage. Some of us may go as far as adding raw apple cider vinegar to their water, provide herbs such as garlic and cayenne to their grains, and even ferment grains. With that said, making a natural DIY goat teat wash is classified as normal and falls in line for raising goats naturally.
Why a Goat Teat Wash is Necessary
I’m not sure why you decided to raise goats, but for me, it’s about the milk they provide. With milking goats comes the need to have a good goat teat wash on hand. Preferably one which does not contain bleach or any other harsh chemicals.
With keeping goats, it is common knowledge that they are not particular about where they lie or what they are lying on. In order to prevent dirt, grass, or even poop from getting into the milk bucket, take the time to clean the udder and teats well before and after milking. Trust me, you want only milk in your bucket, not hay, grains, dirt, or even waste.
Aside from cleaning the udder and teats prior to milking, it is imperative to wash the teats after milking, too.
Goat mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary glands, occurs when bacteria gain access to the udder through the teat canal (teat orifices). Mastitis is generally caused by bacteria, however, there are other reasons that can cause it:
- Various viruses
- Other micro-organisms
- Injury to the teats or udder
- And even stress
In order to prevent mastitis in milking goats, be sure to spray the teats after milking. Not only does the natural goat teat wash sanitize the area, it helps to close the teat orifices, minimizing the risk of any bacteria from reaching the udder.
Signs of Mastitis
Even with the best preventative care, mastitis in goats can happen. Early indications are:
- Decrease in milk yield.
- The milk texture, color, and taste are off. Meaning different than what is normally received.
- Swollen teats or extremely swollen udder.
- Teats hot or painful to the touch.
- Refusal of feed.
- Doe runs a fever.
- Refusal to allow kid to nurse.
- And the doe can even appear depressed.
Severe cases can result in death. Signs to watch for:
- Blue Bag — The skin of the udder becomes cool to the touch, swollen, and may become reddish in color. Eventually, the udder will turn bluish in color, releasing a watery or bloody discharge.
- Hard Udder — This condition is much harder to detect and is generally discovered too late. Unfortunately, there are no visible conditions when a doe has hard udder, and the only sign is a reduction in milk supply or no milk at all. At this point, the doe is often culled unless it is a pet.
How to Prevent Mastitis
In addition to cleanliness, there are other steps that can be taken to help prevent mastitis.
- Keep birthing areas, pens, holding areas clean. Bedding needs to be kept dry. Ensure proper drainage around goat housing.
- Use good milking techniques.
- Wean kids slowly to prevent stress on the udder.
The Benefits of Using Natural Ingredients
Aside from a natural goat teat wash being better for goats, it is also safe to have around small children and other animals. The ingredients which make up this all-natural solution are a powerhouse of natural items that will not only clean the teats; they help to prevent issues such as mastitis.
- essential oils — All oils mentioned are gentle enough to apply to the skin. Each oil contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial qualities. Lavender essential oil also soothes the skin while providing a calming effect.
- Castile soap — Castile soap is a gentle soap and ideal to use for washing the udder and teats.
- colloidal silver — Silver, once broken down into microscopic particles, is one of the strongest metals available. Silver has antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial agents. colloidal silver can easily be brewed at home or purchased online or at many locations which sell vitamin supplements.
All-Natural DIY Goat Teat Wash
Because you will go through this natural teat spray quickly, there is no need to add a preservative. An essential oil mixed with colloidal silver or distilled water will last up to one week without a preservative. If you’re iffy as to whether you will use up the DIY teat spray within one week, a preservative should be added. Grain alcohol (120 to 190 proof) and glycerin act as a preservative with mixtures containing essential oils.
- lavender 15 drops
- melaleuca (tea tree) 5 drops
- rosemary 10 drops
- castile soap, 3 tablespoons
- colloidal silver or distilled water, fill bottle
- grain alcohol (120 to 190 proof), optional preserving agent
- amber spray bottle, 32 ounces
- colloidal silver kit, optional
- Add essential oils and Castile soap to spray bottle.
- Fill amber spray bottle with colloidal silver or distilled water.
- Gently shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.
How to Use a Natural Goat Teat Wash
- Using a warm wet washcloth, thoroughly wipe down udder and teats. Rinse the washcloth and repeat until the area is cleaned.
- Generously spray the teats and udder area with this natural teat spray.
- Using a clean, wet washcloth, wipe the teats once again.
- After milking, spray the teats generously one final time with the natural teat spray.
Cleanliness, plus a good natural DIY goat teat wash reduces the risk of does contracting goat mastitis. Take your time during milking, and do not speed through the process. A healthy, happy doe will keep you in milk for years to come, treat her well!
Ann Accetta-Scott’s All-Natural Teat Spray recipe is also included in the new book 50 Do it Yourself Projects for Keeping Goats, by Janet Garman (Skyhorse Publishing, April 2020). The book is available in the Countryside Bookstore.
Originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.