If you have milking goats, then you’ll want to have a goat udder balm on hand. During milking, a goat’s udder can naturally get dry from all the handling, and since she’s providing your family with her wonderful milk, taking care of her udder is one way to say thank you.
There’s also a practical reason. I’ve found during milking season that as our goat’s udder becomes dry, her skin is more likely to get flaky. It causes all kinds of questionable stuff to get in the milk, which I then need to strain off. In jersey cow milk production, there are similar issues. My homemade goat udder balm helps avoid that unnecessary event and prevents her skin from flaking off all over my hands.
Until I started using udder balm on my goat, her udder would be chapped and dry. Not good! I swiftly switched gears after seeing how a dry udder was affecting her.
While you might wonder, what is coconut oil good for; it works well in this udder balm. While the coconut oil and shea butter will do the job of conditioning and soothing her udder, I like to also add oregano infused olive oil to the mixture. If you don’t know how to make an infused oil, simply pour olive oil into a mason jar, and add 2-3 stalks of fresh oregano. Allow to steep for 2-3 weeks, shaking daily. After a couple weeks, strain oregano out of the olive oil.
I’ve found oregano essential oil to be one way to help a goat suffering from mastitis, so I like to use an infused oil as a preventative. Not only does mastitis render milk unusable, but it’s quite painful for the animal, too. Two signs there might be an issue are if a goat’s milk suddenly turns chunky and/or if there’s a hard area in her udder. While there’s no guarantee oregano-infused oil will prevent an infection, it certainly won’t do any harm, and might do some good. There is also no withdrawal period, so it won’t damage the quality of your goat’s milk.
As an aside, unless you are well versed in essential oils, I would advise sticking with the infused oil in your homemade udder balm. It’s less potent, and in untrained hands, pure oregano essential oil might do more harm than good. If you have kids that also will be drinking from the udder, then applying only oregano essential oil might have some unintended adverse effects on them, since they’re so small. (Here’s a list of the best goats for milk, in case you wondered.)
I also like to include beeswax in my udder balm recipe, since it solidifies the mixture well, making it more stable in hot weather and increasing its shelf stability. It’s not strictly necessary, but recommended. You can buy beeswax pastilles, which work great to make this udder balm. Since coconut oil has a low melting point and never gets truly hard unless it’s very cold, I’ve found that without something like beeswax, it becomes gooey. It will be easy to apply, but it will be messy!
After making it, apply the udder balm immediately after milking. I don’t recommend applying it before; just wash her udder, and get to work.
Recipe for Goat Udder Balm
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- ¾ cup shea butter
- 3 tablespoons oregano infused oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
In a double boiler, melt the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax, stirring until combined. To create a double boiler, fill a stainless steel pot half way with water, then add a heat-safe vessel, such as a Pyrex measuring cup, to the pot, making sure none of the water gets inside the measuring cup. Heat the water until boiling, then add your coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. They will melt from the heat of the boiling water.
Once the first three ingredients are combined, add the oregano infused oil, and mix thoroughly. I like to use a spatula that I picked out just for making topical balms and salves. After everything is mixed together, pour the liquid udder balm into a clean container, leaving uncapped until the mixture is cool and solid.
One word of warning with this udder balm. Keep it inside and not in your barn. On cold days, the balm will be rock hard, and on hot days, it might melt into a gooey mess. Keeping it inside and stored on a cabinet shelf is the best place for it.
If you would like to make a nice variation of my goat udder balm, consider infusing lavender leaves along with the oregano. Lavender has some antibacterial properties as well, but the real value is as a relaxant, to help reward your goat after milking. The lavender will help her associate milking with something relaxing.
For more articles about caring for livestock, visit me on my blog, FrugalChicken.
Do you use udder balm for your goats or other livestock? If so, do you have a favorite udder balm recipe?