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cows

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm dreaming of a couple of Jersey Cows for milk. My question for all of my cow owning friends is, if you do NOT run a dairy farm and just have a few milk cows, how are they milked??

Chandi
post #2 of 12
we don't do this yet, but i am dreaming of it. we do have cows, just not at the milking stage yet.
some people do what's called "milk sharing" where the calf gets milk too. i had read quite a few things on the mother earth news site, you may poke around there..
also, there's an awesome book called keeping a family cow.. that's a good one!
you'd get a LOT of milk from more than one cow.. are you planning on making cheese or sharing/selling milk?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
we get raw milk now and I want to start making yogurt and ice cream. We have 5 kids so eventually we will go through a lot of milk. We go through 3 gallons or more a week now. With very light eaters.

I just didn't know how to milk it lol
post #4 of 12
You can buy portable/small milking machines, Nasco sells really nice ones but you could pick up something used for much less $$. One Jersey cow should give you enough milk, 15-20 liters/day would be pretty decent if she was fed properly but not pushed like a commercial cow. You would probably want two cows though so you always have one in milk.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nursingnaturalmom View Post
we get raw milk now and I want to start making yogurt and ice cream. We have 5 kids so eventually we will go through a lot of milk. We go through 3 gallons or more a week now. With very light eaters.

I just didn't know how to milk it lol
You only use 3 gallons a week? I'd be really hesitant to get cows then, because you will have a TON of milk just sitting around, even from just 1 cow. When we had our milker, we got about 4 gallons a day (2 from each milking). That takes a lot of storage space in the fridge.

We used a Surge milker on ours, worked great, much quicker.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
we do only use that much milk now. But my children are young and we arne't making yogurt or ice cream yet. We make most things from scratch although slacking a bit lately but am tryng t get back into the swing of things.

Chandi
post #7 of 12
We have 1 jersey milk cow. She is giving us between 3 and 4 gallons a day with milking her once a day. When she has a calf that is needing milk we milk share. We put the calf on her overnight and milk in the late afternoon/early evening, the rest of the time she is being milked by the calf.
We have a 5 gallon portable milker that we use to milk her. It makes the job so much easier and faster for us and she does great with it.
I would suggest that if you are going to get a cow that you go with one that is not a heifer or calving her first calf as they can be harder to deal with. We did this and tho we were very lucky with temperment and how she dealt with calving, raising the calf and milking, she had huge issues with edima in her udder and actually slipped her ligament so her udder will not be as strong and she will not be able to be a milk cow for as long. Many of these issues will have been discovered with previous calvings if you get one that is experienced.
Hugs
Jessica
post #8 of 12
i'm learning to milk!!

there are three jerseys at the farm where i work and i will be taking a turn milking once a week starting next week. we're milking them once a day (which so far is going really well!) but not milk-sharing -- all of the calves are being nursed by one holstein.

i visited a nearby dairy (a small, pasture-based, raw milk dairy) earlier this year when i found out that we'd be milking this summer. the farmer there was SO generous with her time and knowledge and allowed me and my kids to watch her milk and answered all of our questions about milking.

we also took a bunch of books out of the library and found "keeping a family cow" to be the most helpful!
post #9 of 12
We have one Jersey and use a portable Surge milker. We started out doing it by hand, mostly so we'd know how to do it, and then switched to the machine, which we vastly prefer. Our cow is hard to hand-milk, though, because her teats are small. Some cows have much better udders for hand-milking - well-placed teats that are large enough to get your hands around, lets down her milk fully and quickly, then the milk practically falls out, but that's not our cow (she's about as sweet as they come, though), so the machine is a better option for us.

We keep the calf with the cow (until it's old enough to wean), separate them for part of the day (currently morning and afternoon) and milk once per day (late afternoon), right now we're getting about 2-3 gallons per day from her 3 working quarters and I bet the calf is taking at least another 2 gallons. It's a ton of milk, we make yogurt, butter and cheese but still have extra. We have a dedicated milk fridge in the barn, no way could we cope with that much with only the house fridge (the barn fridge is actually an upright freezer with an external electronic control added to keep the temp at 35 degrees F, so the milk cools quickly and stays very cold, keeps it fresh longer).
post #10 of 12
I do believe my system should win awards. I have 2 Jerseys which of course are not lactating at the same time. Right now Elsie is lactating. She has her calf and I bought another holstien baby to go on her as well- she adopted it wonderfully. 2 healthy rowdy calves should clean up a Jersey. When I want milk I lock up Elsie for 12 hours, then milk. I usually stop at a gallon and then let the calves clean her up. I milk probably 6 mornings/week. Healthy calves, healthy cow, healthy family. You know if there is a problem by the calves and the cow is always milked out. It takes very little time to milk 1 gallon by hand and wouldn't be worth it to use a machine. Then when the calves are big enough they go in the freezer.


As far as milking a cow by hand- you do it the same as any other species- squeeze the teet till the milk comes out. It is like a plunger- wait till you feel it fill again then repeat. *Caution though about milking by hand on a random basis. You will build different muscles in your arms- if you only milk 1x/week you will be sore forever!
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by iowaorganic View Post
I do believe my system should win awards. I have 2 Jerseys which of course are not lactating at the same time. Right now Elsie is lactating. She has her calf and I bought another holstien baby to go on her as well- she adopted it wonderfully. 2 healthy rowdy calves should clean up a Jersey. When I want milk I lock up Elsie for 12 hours, then milk. I usually stop at a gallon and then let the calves clean her up. I milk probably 6 mornings/week. Healthy calves, healthy cow, healthy family. You know if there is a problem by the calves and the cow is always milked out. It takes very little time to milk 1 gallon by hand and wouldn't be worth it to use a machine. Then when the calves are big enough they go in the freezer.
i LIKE this idea. you should indeed get an award... what if you milk fewer times a week or what if you used a less milk-y cow? would two be too much or are they like us and would produce enough milk? (I want to milk our belties)
post #12 of 12
Thanks! cows are pretty much like us. Supply and Demand- but some breeds are just bred for making way more than 1 calf could ever handle. You might have to figure out how much your cow is capable of. Our calves love milk and would take everything Elsie makes if I let them. We have gone on short trips (a couple of days) and the calves have taken care of everything. When the children went to gmas last month for 2 weeks I hardly milked at all because we didn't really need much- again- the calves took care of it.

Our old Jersey had 3 calves. Salty (our other cow) makes half and half- so we have just had one calf on her- but this coming lactation we might do another..... We will just have to see.

Most people think that if you have a dairy cow you HAVE to be there every 12 hours- well something needs to be- but it doesn't have to be you! I think there are probably very few families that really would consume more than 10 gallons/week (making yogurt and ice cream).
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