First Timers: How To Milk a Family Cow {Part Two}


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Categories: On The Farm

Welcome to part two of our Family Milk Cow blog series. If you haven’t checked out part one, you can find it here.

In this blog post and YouTube video I am going cover the following topics:

  1. Milking schedule, breeding, and cow / calf logistics

  2. Milking equipment

  3. Hay and grain

  4. Washing udders

  5. Strip cups

  6. Automatic bucket milkers

  7. Homemade udder balm (bag balm)

  8. Washing equipment

We milk our Jersey Cow once a day for her entire lactation, 10 months and then we dry her off 60 days beforeshe calves (Click HERE if you want to watch the birth). What this means is, we need to put a bull in with her 60 days after she calves to get her preggers for the next lactation the following year.

This schedule leaves us two months of the year without milk, so we drive 5 hours round trip to a fabulous dairy North of us for milk every two weeks. 

The Momma cow and calf logistics:

We keep Momma and baby together for 2 -3 weeks and then we permanently separate cow and calf. We have tried everything under the sun to keep them together and still get our fair share of cream (the 12 hour together and then separate, etc). When our Momma cows know she has a baby to feed, you won’t get much cream and definitely not the heavy cream that comes at the end of milking.

Well, I have a baby feed and husband to please, so I need cream for all things yummy…  ice cream, coffee cream, sour cream, creme frache, cheese-making… you get the picture. The first year we ended up bottle feeding with Momma cows raw milk for 7 months. The second year we didn’t keep the calf and third year of milking we had our high producing Momma cow adopt our family milk cows baby. It was a win-win for everyone. We’ll see how this milk season pans next month … we may do something different! 

Here’s the video…

MILKING EQUIPMENT:

We purchased all our dairy equipment and supply’s through a dairy distributor, who bought it fromEZmilking.com.

I tried buying our milker direct, but EZmilking will not sell to individuals, you have to be a dealer. You can call the EZmilking telephone number and they’ll give you a local distributor in your area.

If you’re interested in the automatic machine we have, you can read more about it here… Portable Vacuum Pump Instructions – electric.

 

UDDER / TEAT SPRAY:

I fill up a spray bottle with 50% filtered clean water, 45% vinegar, %5 antiseptic betadine and a bit of essential oils (usually tea tree oil and eucalyptus). You can also add a bit of vitamin E or glycerin for moisturizing.

If you are sharing milk with a calf and leaving the calf on the mother, you may want to consider leaving one quarter for the calf. Or maybe your cow get’s an infection (masticis)… we’ve used the inflation plugs pictured to your right, many many times.

UDDER BALM (BAG BALM):

Here is how I make it  —>  Equal partsShea Butter, Coconut oil and Olive Oil. Directions: Warm the oil gently in a crock pot or on the stove and put in herbs like Comfrey, Calendula, Rosemary, and St. Johns Wort. Let the herbs infuse overnight. Then take out the herbs and then gently melt some beeswax in the same pot on low. Wait until it is liquified and stir well, then pour in jars.

We use this lotion for everything… chap stick (just add more beeswax), body lotion, face lotion, baby hiney balm, rashes whatever… this stuff is magical. I buy the Shea butter, beeswax and herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs in bulk. 

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