Got Milk?

In our last post about our cows With A Moo, Moo Here And A Moo, Moo There, we said, and i quote, “We hope to start milking Angelica in the next week or so (you have to wait until all of the Colostrum has come through) and we will let you know how that goes. Homemade butter, yoghurt, cheese and ice-cream here we come!!!” That was dated 9 January 2014. What’s that saying again? ‘Good intentions mean nothing without action’. Yeah, that one. Well we had all of the good intentions and none of the action so we didn’t start milking Angelica until Saturday 31st May. Why that date? Well we had some friends from Sydney staying with us that weekend who are really interested in our lifestyle and we thought what better activity to do than to milk a cow!

So we sterilised our equipment and off we went!

Generally when you’re milking small time like this, you have to separate the calf at night from the mother so her udder fills up and doesn’t get emptied. You then milk her early in the morning, leaving enough for the calf to have a small drink and then the calf gets the udder for the rest of the day. However we had learned previously when Angelica had Chuck, that she had an overabundance of milk – more than Chuck could drink. She would be wandering around the paddock with milk just dripping out of her teats. An ideal cow to milk!

Also when you’re milking a cow, they generally won’t stand still in a paddock so you have to halter them and tie them up with feed in front of them to keep them happy while you milk. Again, not so with Angelica. Ideally it would be easiest to milk her that way however standing in the middle of a paddock milking her isn’t all that hard. You just need two people. One to scratch her and give her pats and the other to milk. At first she’s a bit funny but then she gets used to it and enjoys the attention.

So we entered the paddock and set ourselves up. Kel’s Mum came with us as it was her job to keep Angelica happy. What’s that other saying? ‘Better late than never’. Well that didn’t apply to our situation. It was too late. It had been around six months since Angelica had given birth and she wasn’t producing much milk anymore as her calf was eating grass as well. We may have had a chance if we separated her the night before however really we should have started a few weeks after she’d given birth. We managed maybe a quarter of a cup.

It was a huge let down, not just because we had friends there but because we had once again, missed our chance.

What’s that you say? Missed our chance again?

Yes, that’s right. Again. The small handheld electronic milker we bought, we actually bought when Chuck was born, two years ago when we realised how much milk Angelica had. So it took us one a and a half years to actually milk her and when we did we got nothing because we’d been putting it off and we were too late. We’re such slackers.

Anyway we’re pretty sure Angelica is pregnant again so third time lucky, huh?

Handheld Milker 00This is our handheld electronic milker. From left to right: suction cups for teats, glass food safe milk jar, rechargeable battery powered vacuum pump

If you’re interested in the milker, you can visit the manufacturer’s website: http://danshafarms.com/main.sc

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2 thoughts on “Got Milk?

  1. I missed our first cow’s first lactation because we didn’t have a stanchion and she was quite wild, so I wasn’t going to milk her in the pasture! But I was determined I would milk her heifer when she calved two years later. Her calf was born in June, and my husband didn’t get the stanchion ready to use until August, but it all went great. She was very gentle and never tried to kick–so easy for me to learn on. I think it helped that I’d raised her from birth, of course. I do hope you’ll be ready to go this next time!

    By the way, does that milker work using continuous suction? Because if it does, it can really damage a cow’s teats and udder. Milkers need to work with pulsations, similar to the squeeze-release-squeeze-release of hand milking or a calf nursing. Here’s a thread from Keeping a Family Cow about this milker: http://familycow.proboards.com/thread/64051/anybody-dansha-farms-milkers-before
    I highly encourage you to read the next-to-last post, from Wyomama, on page 2. I would really encourage you to consider other options than using this milker. I truly hate to burst your bubble, but I know you don’t want to hurt your cow. All the best, Susan

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    • Oh wow! That’s no good. Thanks for pointing that out. We’ll definitely look into that more before we start using the milker on Angelica.

      And i follow your other blog so i’ve been keeping up with your milking šŸ™‚ It’s wonderful!

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