Hand milk or vacuum system?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Zookeeper, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. Zookeeper

    Zookeeper Well-Known Member

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    We just got a Jersey who's giving approx. 2.5 gallons/day. It takes forever to milk her by hand. We do not have her in a head gate or kicker which I know we need to do, but I am wondering if people still milk by hand, and how long should we expect it to take at each milking? How much of a difference should it make once we get her more restrained during milking?

    Does anyone use a milker? Can you tell me pros/cons/recommendations?
     
  2. Vere My Sone

    Vere My Sone Well-Known Member

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    Does your jersey need restraining?

    With mine, I just usually snap her on to a lead rope and tie her. After she finishes her grain, she licks the salt block till I finish, or if it's winter, I'll throw her a little hay there just to munch while I'm milking

    sometimes, I don't even do that, but just milk her when she's eating hay

    I hand milk
    it'll get faster the more you do it
    sometimes, it takes longer to get her clean than it does to milk, but we're down to 1-1 1/2 gallons once a day
     

  3. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    We milked by hand when I was growing up, and 3 years ago, when I bought some house cows, we milked by hand, but the weather here in Northern Minnesota can be rough in winter; my hands would freeze before I could finish milking even one cow. We bought a vacuum milker and I use it in all weather; the cows barely have time to eat their grain before I'm shooing them back out into the paddock..

    Even with one cow it's the way to go, at least it is for us.
     
  4. Tessynae

    Tessynae Well-Known Member

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    Haggis,
    What kind/brand of vacuum milker do you have/recommend?
     
  5. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I bought it from the Parts Dept. and it's a 3/4 horse motor type, made for a single cow. I wouldn't take my money back for it, if that means anything for you as a potential buyer.

    http://www.partsdeptonline.com/
     
  6. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use a Surge belly milker for my little cow. I only use it during the first part of her lactation. When she slows down in the winter I can hand milk her in the time it takes to take care of a milker. If your cow has a calf she may be holding her milk for her calf. I usually have to separate my cow from her calf or she holds her milk. First calf heifers are usually harder to milk than older cows until they get used to the idea. Does your cow stand well when milking? If not you will probably need to put her in a stanchion. Our first milk cow wore a halter and we just snapped her halter to a tie-up during milking. Good luck!!
     
  7. Zookeeper

    Zookeeper Well-Known Member

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    She came to us from a small dairy so she I believe she is used to being held in a stanchion for milking, although she does stand pretty well for the hand milking. We probably just need a kicker since the main problem seems to be that DH has to hold the bucket with one hand and only milk with one hand since she does stomp and put her foot in the milk on occasion. It takes him about 30 minutes per milking, which seems like a long time to us (?)

    She does not have a calf, but I think she is just now getting more comfortable with us, being somewhere new, and being hand milked, etc. It has only been a few days. Already she seems more patient with the milking.

    It is about time to dry her out anyway and attempt AI so she can have another calf, and the dairy man did say that she would hand milk easier if we bottle fed the calf.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  8. mtn_gin

    mtn_gin Active Member

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    I got my cow from a dairy a few years ago. Took her a couple weeks to get used to us. I still handmilk her and she just stands and lets me. My daughters and I have gotten pretty fast and we can have her done in less than 15 minutes and she gives about 2 and 1/2 gallons at milking. We took her calf off of her and let him in when we are done but now he has gotten so strong that when he hunches he nearly knocks her off her feet so I have decided to take him off completely. My neighbor has a milker she said she would give me so this weekend my husband is going to go over and get it. Don't know how that will work but going to give it a whirl. Because my heifer is due to calve anytime so that means I will have two to milk.
     
  9. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    i figgure i can milk faster than i can clean a machine for one animal, cow im milking now let us milk her first time with out being in head gate or kickers, no time at all training, others take about a week to train.

    total time from kitchen to garage get coat mud boots to the barn fill bucket of feed, go to milk stall, pat all cows, get her in postion, wash her udder, milk her( she gives apx 3 gals a day so apx 1.5 per milking), let her out, pat everyone again, walk back to house, take of coat boots ect go to kitchen is 30 minutes( i need to remeber to wear a watch to see how long actuall milk time is, last time i did that on other cow was 15 min apx)
     
  10. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If your cow is not bred back, I would not dry her off yet. You can milk her up to within a couple of months of her calving. Your husband will get faster at milking the more practice he has. It sounds like your cow is settling down as she gets more used to her new environment and her owners. She might never have been hand milked at her other home; so this is new to her.
     
  11. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    linn is right no need to dry her up to breed her, dry her up apx 2 months before she is due
     
  12. Zookeeper

    Zookeeper Well-Known Member

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    The people who owned the dairy and others we've talked to have said that since she's milked over 300 days now she needs a break...is that not the case?

    I know we can milk her up to the couple months before calf delivery, but we thought the issue with ours was length of time she's already been milked (?) Do they get to the end of a healthy lactation period and need to stop?

    Also, she is going TO the AI guy to stay for a few days to be done and he's not gonna milk her. Another issue is that she has been AI'd twice unsuccessfully this past time, although checked out okay by the vet and we were told should be able to successfully AI her again, the dairy just doesn't want to fool with any cow which needs any special attention, etc. I believe the vet also told DH we should dry her out first.

    Does any of this make sense? It's my first cow, if that's not blatantly obvious...LOL...
     
  13. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    what ever is easiest for you i suppose, they dont need you to dry them up, they will normally slow production and dry up, it isnt going to hurt them to keep milking them past the 300 days. the 300 days is just a estimation of a cows lactating period many will go longer as some wont last that...