DIY Goat Milking Stand (With Free Printable Plans!)
So, before we begin, I should be completely honest with you. I am not a homesteader. I do not own any goats. Or chickens. Or pigs. I don't even have a garden. But my friend Lillie does. And Lillie and her husband Tyler are nice people who regularly go out of their way to help me, so when they mentioned they needed to build a goat milking stand, I was on it.
So Tuesday morning I showed up at their house, tools in tow, to help Lillie build a goat milking stand. I'm a planner, so of course I had multiple goat milking stand plans ready for Lillie to choose from. For multiple reasons I'll detail below, this was the one we ended up building!
Ideas and Planning
There are lots of posts on the internet about how people built their goat milking stands for free. Then it turns out they built the stand out of pallet and/or scrap wood. That's cool, if you've got usable scrap wood sitting around. But not all of us do. Lillie had some pallet wood, and I made a plan that used it, but we decided the pallet wood wasn't really sturdy enough to use for this project.
Thus, this plan uses wood that is easy to purchase from your local home improvement store. If you want a natural wood look and have a bunch of money to spend, making a solid cedar goat milking stand is an option. Cedar has anti-rot properties, so it'll be fine unfinished outside. However, Lillie and I are not rich, so we purchased pine with the knowledge that we'd paint it with exterior paint to protect it from the elements.
You might be wondering about pressure treated wood. It is intended for exterior use, but since much of the goat milking stand comes in contact with humans/animals, we decided against it. Pressure treated wood can be dangerous, so I avoid it except when working with pieces that don't come in contact with people.
Now, full disclosure, Lillie and I did not build this plan as written. She had a 28" wide piece of 1/4" plywood sitting around, so we edited the dimensions a bit to make that be the top. While I could have edited my plans to match what we made, it is much easier and cheaper to source a 24" top than a 28" wide top, so I left them the way they were originally written.
Finally, Lillie's goats are really small. These goat milking stand plans are intended for small goats. I imagine if you have larger goats you'll need a larger sized goat stand, as well as a completely different head-hole placement. While you could totally use these plans as guide, you'll need to edit the dimensions significantly for larger goats.
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Materials and Tools
- (5) 2" x 4" x 8' Boards
- (5) 1" x 6" x 48" Cedar Fence Pickets - Four of these are for the top. I designed the plans with cedar fence pickets in mind, because they're cheap and easy to work with. Aka, no cutting large pieces of plywood. However, if you already have a 1/4" piece of plywood sitting around, or have a table saw and don't struggle to cut large pieces of plywood, a 39" x 24" piece of plywood is probably cheaper.
- (2) or (4) Screw Eyes - The first two screw eyes are mandatory for attaching hardware to close the head gate. Lillie was really worried her untrained goat would kick and run off the structure, so in addition to using two screw eyes on the head gate, we also put two at the back of the structure so Lillie could tie the goat's legs in place.
- (3) 6" x 8" Shelf Brackets - For extra support.
- (2) Small Cup Hooks - For attaching a food bucket.
- (1) 6" Long Bolt and Matching Washer and Nut - For securing the moving headpiece.
- Bungee Cord - For closing the head gate.
- 2 1/2" Exterior Screws
- 1" Exterior Screws
- Jigsaw - This is necessary. Ours broke halfway through, and we tried to saw the hole with a handsaw and it did not go well.
- Miter Saw
- Extra Long Drill Bit - This needs to match the size of the bolt you purchased.
For full dimensions and cuts, download the Free Goat Milking Stand Plans below!
This is normally the part where I show you nice step-by-step pictures of us building the goat milking stand. However, I edited the plans and process afterward to make it simpler (no Kreg Jig required,) so the photos I have don't actually match the easiest way to assemble the structure. (Plus, we messed it up and had to fix it in a way that would be really confusing if I posted pictures.) So, if you're wondering why there aren't real-life photos of the steps, that would be why. I highly recommend downloading the Free Goat Milking Stand Plans so that you have dimensions and 3D views of each step!
Step 1: Make all Cuts
We didn't do this. If we had, we probably wouldn't have messed up, and you would have nice helpful process photos.
Step 2: Assemble the Frame
In order to not require a pocket hole jig, the frame gets assembled a bit strangely. Start by attaching the two long sides to the back end of the frame.
Then add a piece a couple inches before the front of the frame. This leaves space for the front of the frame, as well as the future legs.
Since the top is made up of either thin wood or 1/4" plywood, it needs a support piece. Thus, add a long piece in the center of the frame to support the top. It helps to flip the frame over so that this new piece can lie flat on the floor while you secure it in place.
Finally, attach the front piece to the frame. By doing things in this order, you were able to access all of the screws for the middle piece, and not require pocket holes to assemble it.
Step 3: Attach the Back Legs
I used three screws on each of the back legs; two from the back of the frame, and one from the side of the frame.
You'll note you can't see the middle support piece in the above photo... because we didn't install in the order I mentioned in step 2. Trust me, what's written above is definitely the easier way to do things.
Step 4: Attach the Back Leg Supports
If you were to leave these legs as is with no extra support, you would put a lot of strain on those three screws. So to avoid this, and because Lillie wanted the ability to drag the goat milking stand around without comprimising its structural integrity, we attached leg supports.
These supports are mitered on both ends, and fit perfectly between the legs and sides of the stand, as seen below.
Step 5: Add the Front Legs
This is a little bit tricky since the front legs extend above the tabletop where the goat stands. So to install them, I balanced the goat stand on its front, and shimmed the legs to correct height, as seen in the photo below.
Step 6: Add the Top
This is when the goat milking stand actually starts looking like a goat milking stand, and it's quite satisfying. We attached our top using 1" screws, but if you have a brad nailer and construction adhesive, that works too!
Step 7: Add Front Supports
There are two front supports that span the width of the milking stand. These help keep the goat head gate in place, as well as provide a place to hang a food bucket from.
Technically, you should probably wait to add the food bucket and accompanying hardware until after you've painted the goat milking stand, but we got excited.
Step 8: Prep Head Gate Pieces
One advantage to adding the food bucket early was that we could pop our goat up onto the stand to check and see exactly where we needed to put the head hole. This was super helpful, and while I included the head hole dimensions we used in the goat milking stand plans, I highly recommend measuring your own goat to make sure the hole is sized correctly.
At this point, also decide if you want your head gate centered. Centering it looks nice, but gives the movable piece less space to open, meaning a smaller hole for the goat's head to go through when getting them on and off the stand. Our pieces are just a little off center.
Once you've determined the size and placement of your gate pieces, go ahead and cut the head hole out with a jigsaw. You really need a jigsaw for this. Promise. Our jigsaw broke halfway through, and hand sawing it did not go well. Our second piece is a little janky as a result.
Step 9: Add Stationary Head Gate Piece
We used four screws, two through the frame, and two through the higher support pieces, to secure the stationary piece of the head gate in place.
Step 10: Add Movable Head Gate Piece
Using the extra long drill bit, drill a bolt-sized hole through the frame, movable piece, and inner frame piece. Then insert the bolt into the hole, and secure with the nut and washer. Note that the hole drilled for the bolt goes through 4.5" of wood, so a extra long drill bit really is necessary.
Step 11: Paint and Add Hardware
Lillie and I are both of the opinion that we don't get to use bright, fun colors anywhere near enough. So we opted to paint the goat milking stand a very bright green since it was going outside. It was even brighter than we were anticipating, but we're both pretty pleased with it regardless.
After the stand was painted, we added the hardware. First up, the supports that went behind the three stationary pieces of the goat head gate.
These are just shelf brackets, but they go a long way towards keeping the head gate stable. Then we added screw eyes and a bungee cord at the top of the head gate.
The bungee cord was initially much longer, but a quick cut and a new knot made it the perfect size!
Finally, we added two screw eyes on the top of the goat stand. Lillie's goat had never been milked before, so she wanted the ability to tie its feet to the stand.
We just have bungee cords in there right now, but Lillie might replace them with real rope if she thinks it's necessary.
I really love how it looks. Plus, it went together quickly. We built this in a day (with a toddler running around!) When Lillie's husband got home that night, he was super impressed!
I'm also a bit shocked at how well it works. Just look at that goat. She is so into her food. Plus, her little tail is going crazy! Super cute.
When we first painted the goat milking stand in the garage, we were both surprised at how bright the paint was. But it looks so good against the grass! I'm actually really glad we went with such a bright color!