How Long Do You Milk??

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by barnyardfun, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. barnyardfun

    barnyardfun Happy Homemaker Supporter

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    Okay please remember that I am new to all this so sorry if I as silly questions.

    Just Curious......

    Thanks to Quailkeeper my dream of having a Jersey should come true within the next couple months. Since she has already been so nice to help me I didn't want to hound her with questions........

    My husband has milked cows before so we have the general idea of that and I know it will take a lot of practice (hopefully the cow won't hate me by the time I learn!! :) ) One of my questions is How Long Can You Milk??

    I know that when they first have the calf you have to let them be because of the colostrium (sp?) but when do you start milking and how long can you milk?? Is it okay to milk them when they are pregnant?? Won't that hurt the baby?? Etc.

    Please if you could just explain the general idea of this to me I would really appreciate it!!

    Sorry I am just kinda ignorant in this area! :no: I really want to learn though.
    I WILL FOREVER BE GRATEFUL!!
     
  2. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    Do you have the book Keeping a Family Cow?
    Its very good, and goes into this.
    If you breed her within a few months of her calving, you will want to dry her off about 8 weeks before she calves again (this is what Ive read, dont know if its a matter of opinion or not though).
    Ive also known people that will milk for 2 years straight...I think some people dont agree with it..but I dont know the pros and cons either way.
    There now..Ive helped (confuse you even more)...lol
    Mary F.
     

  3. barnyardfun

    barnyardfun Happy Homemaker Supporter

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    THANK YOU! I will look for that book! And no you did not confuse me even more (I don't think that is possible at times! :eek: ) You were perfectly clear to me though. Thanks for the info.

    Will welcome more info too.......personal experience, opinions, anything!
     
  4. melwynnd

    melwynnd living More with Less!

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    Barnyardfun,

    Keeping a cow is pretty much common sense... There really aren't hard and fast rules. Each person is different as well as each cow.

    When your cow has her calf, you can either leave it on for a few days or pull it right off and start milking. The milk will be really thick and yellow for the first few days(colostrum) Freeze a couple of quarts of this if you start milking right away. It's vital if you get bum calves and can save puppies and baby goats too. We start drinking the milk when it thins a bit(usually 4-5 days). There are probably still some antibodies in it, but we don't mind.

    Once you start milking, you have choices there too. You can milk twice a day, or you can leave the calf on during the day, lock it up a night, and milk in the morning before turning the calf back on her. You will get less milk leaving the calf on, but most families find it hard to use ALL the milk a cow gives anyway.

    Keep an eye on your cow. She will look boney anyway, but if she looks like she's really losing weight, feed her a bit more. Make sure she ALWAYS has water. A good producing cow can drink 30-40 gal a day. She will tell you what she needs, and since you are milking her, you will be spending a lot of time with her and will get to know her quickly.

    For the first year of calving, I like to give my cows a good 90 days rest before they calve. They are usually still growing themselves so it's nice to let them have the rest. There is also nothing to say you HAVE to milk all that time. Sometimes I only milk for 6 months. When they are older, it's good to give them 60 days so they don't get too calcium deficient and can build up some reserves.

    Believe me, you'll know what to do when the time comes. I always joke to my husband that I spend more quality time with my cow than I do with him. You will get to know her very quickly and none of this is too complicated.

    Good luck:D

    Sherry
     
  5. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    You should start milking right after calving. Freeze some colostrum in case of a sick calf, make beesting pudding, and give the rest to the chickens or down the drain. A new calf can't take enough milk to take pressure off the udder and you'd risk mastitis and decreased production if you didn't milk. The colostrum is gone after 3 or so days and then you are in the clear to drink the milk.
     
  6. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    I really don't mind answering the questions I can :) I'm pretty new to this myself. I have a book I'll send you to thumb through until you get the cow, its The Family Cow that was recommended by several on this board. I sent you an email. :D
     
  7. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here is the link to real food.com... you can order "Keeping a Family Cow" direct from the author at this site. There is also a discussion forum that is filled with people that are a wealth of information. You will get lots of information and answers to all your questions. They are truly a remarkable bunch over there.

    Your going to love having a family milk cow.

    http://www.real-food.com/
     
  8. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Do try the link that Jan gave you, it's a very knowledgeable group of people that milk their cows.

    Carol K