The "Simple Pulse" is a pretty cool concept, the brainchild of a husband and wife who have a goat farm on the West Coast. It consists of a vacuum pump to create suction, together with a vacuum chamber and a pulsator. One hose is connected from the vacuum chamber to the milk jar to create suction and draw the milk in. Another hose is connected from the pulsator to the two teat "inflations" in order to draw the milk from the goat's udder into another hose leading back to the jar.
In theory, milking is as simple as cleaning the goat's teats, turning on the suction pump, attaching the inflations to the teats, and watching the milk flow into the jar. And indeed, as soon as I figured out how to put everything together, it worked exactly as promised. After three milkings, the goats seem to have accepted the contraption. We are getting about the same about of milk as we were by hand-milking, maybe even a little more.
So, my first thoughts are kudos to the couple who contrived to put together this milking system. It's a nifty contraption that works as promised. My understanding is that it's as good or better than most everything "hobby-farm sized" on the market, and certainly better than more cheaply priced options. That said, there are a few "cons" that I thought I'd put out there for anybody who is considering making a similar purchase:
- The milker increases in value the more goats that you milk. Although I'll probably save some time once I get more used to it, at present it actually takes me a little longer to use the milker than it would to milk by hand. This is with milking two full-sized goats and one Nigerian. In essence, the hold-up is cleaning the lines after milking is finished. This involves, at a minimum, running some soapy water and then some plain water through the lines and hanging them up to dry. It doesn't sound like much, but it is time consuming, especially without a milk house. I'm actually thinking of storing the milker until we have more goats "in milk," as I'm not confident that its benefits outweigh the inconvenience of daily cleaning and storage.
- There is also an inconvenience for anybody who milks both full-sized and dwarf-sized goats. Since we have two full-sized goats in milk, I elected to purchase inflations for larger teats. Our one Nigerian who is "in milk," however, is a first-freshener with very small teats. Although I can attach the inflations, they won't draw out all the milk. This means that I have to finish milking her by hand. And unless I wanted to bring out the filter system that we use for hand-milking, the best I can do is give the rest of the Nigerian's milk to the cats. "Simple Pulse" also sells Nigerian-sized inflations, but I imagine that it would be inconvenient at best to switch inflation sizes mid-milking.
- Finally, I'm still a little intimidated by the vacuum pump due to the oil mist that it emits as it runs. Already, the oil level has gone down somewhat, and I've had to order more oil. At $11 per quart, it might not be a huge amount of money, but add the electricity to that, and consider that milking by hand simply involves burning some calories while developing stronger hand muscles, and then it all starts to add up.
In no way is this a negative review. The "Simple Pulse" is a nifty little machine, and even if I end up packing it away for another day when we have more goats "in milk," I'm impressed by what I've observed so far.