Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Other than hobbling my milk cow is there any way to keep her from kicking the claw off during milking? I learned yesterday that swatting her is NOT a good idea, it just makes her mad and she aims at me instead of the claw. It just isn't a fair fight considering she out weighs me by about 900 lbs.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,949 Posts
Depends. Is she very recently fresh, and is she a first calf heifer? Does she take violent exception to the machine from the moment you put it on or does she wait until it squawks, until she is partially milked out, or until you try and reach to take the machine off? Has her kick been mild or half hearted, more of a "please don't bother me" type of kick up until you swatted her?

If she's a first calf heifer, remember that they have tender teats and the machine may bother them quite a bit and that from about 6 weeks to 10 weeks (that's not exact, but in the neighborhood) they usually go through a stage where they start to rebel and kick at the machine . Not all of them do this, but a good percentage of them do. Generally if you just ride it out they are fine from then on. The best practice with these cows is to humor them and don't try and "win". If the machine has to come off early before you think it should, do it. You won't lose much milk and the heifer will be happier. In a few weeks she'll come around as they pass their peak milk and start to feel more comfortable again.

Some cows just hate to have a machine squawk when it slips and lets in air. There's not a whole lot you can do about these cows from what I've seen. If something bothers them that has them kick reflexively, it's hard to train them away from it. I usually use some type of anti-kicker on these animals if they really are taking the machine off. Notice I say "off". If a cow kicks and doesn't take the machine off that's something I live with. I grit my teeth a lot, but I live with it.

As you found out, swatting does not work with some cows. The basic "hey! Settle down!" (deep voice) will work on a lot of animals, but if it doesn't and they kick, then go to the anti-kickers. Cows that reach for you are rare, and as you note they can be dangerous. They've got a high strung personality and they don't take to training very well, although you can often reach a balance with them where they leave you alone if they will allow the minimum handling from you. Never try hitting these cows as it will just escalate things and you'll have a war on your hands every milking. There are some animals that are fearful and anything that you do that they don't like just compounds the feelings they already have for the milking process.

The number of ways to handle kickers is about as many as their are cows that kick. :)
If this is a family cow and you only have her and another one or two, I would give her a month to come around and if she doesn't, ship her. Life is too short to deal with an animal that doesn't want to get with the program. The fact that she reached for you, not just tried to wave you off, tells me she is a cow that will always be one to watch. That level of kicking is higher on the scale than normal and it shows their personality kind of on the "wired" side.

Jennifer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I've had her about 4 months. I think she is about 3 or 4 years old. She is generally very laid back and sweet. She came from a dairy and I put a halter on her about a week ago and she followed me like a puppy. She kicks at the claw near the end of the milking. I use a bucket milker. Her kicking is the reason I purchased the machine. She kicks the claw off about half the time and hay and dirt gets sucked into the bucket. She doesn't kick all the time. She just seems to be moody. When I put a rope around her belly it seems to help some but I was just hoping there might be a trick I hadn't heard of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,274 Posts
Are you graining her while milking? Sometimes if you make sure they don't run out of grain they will not kick as much. Fresh heifers often kick which is why I said to trade ger in for an older cow. If a dairy sold off a cow who was milking I would say that she is a chronic kicker and that is why they did not mind selling her. They used to make a back strap for those old bucket milkers that attached to the milk machine and strapped around the cow to help hold it on. If you can find one it will keep it from hitting the ground and sucking in dirt.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,949 Posts
If she's good most of the time and just is an end of the milking kicker, then I would simply add the kickers or like you said first, a set of hobbles, to your milking routine. I almost always have a cow in the milking line up who does this kind of kick and as soon as I get rid of her another heifer will freshen who does the same thing. With these cows, as soon as they come into the parlour the kickers go on them. My current kicker is a Black Jersey (half Jersey, half Holstein, pure black) that started doing this her first lactation and picked up again where she left off when she freshened the second time. If she REALLY wants the machine off, it will come off, and at this point I let her get away with it. She's normally mostly milked out at that point and she is a good milker, so I keep fooling with her.

Hope you get some improvement with your cow, Skye. Sometimes as they get older they stop the stuff they did when they were younger.

Oh, and like sugarbush mentioned, if you have an old Surge bucket, they hang under the cow with a surcingle (I hope I spelled that right) and the weight of the milk in the bucket can settle some cows down. Calms them somehow, I think.

Good luck!

Jennifer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yes I give her grain while I am milking. In fact she is usually just finishing up when I come in from washing the machine. What are kickers? Are they different from hobbles? I've only seen the metal chains and bar thingy. I do not think she is bred. I had her A.I.ed twice and I don't think she settled.
 

·
Dairy Farmer
Joined
·
119 Posts
JenniferL is right just buy a good set of kickers. Alot of cows and heifers just feel more comfortable wearing the kickers. This way they do not have to worry about alot of things at once. We always start our first calf heifers out with kickers. Then in about a week we try with out them. Most are fine but you have some that like wearing them.
And if you feed her while you are milking and she is kicking off the milker when she is done with her feed. There is a little trick that can help. Just put good sized rocks in her feed dish. She will have to move the rocks to get to her feed. Thou's taking more time to eat.
Hope this helps. She will come to it sooner or later. Just hang in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I think I am more stubborn than she is.
By the way it is so cool to talk cows with someone. It is hard to find people who enjoy "cow talk".
 

·
Dairy Farmer
Joined
·
119 Posts
You will find the kickers in your feed store, or should be able to. You can get the half moon type ( this is what we use) or the wishbone type ( have used these also when we milked in a stanchioned barn).
What type of milking system to you have? (Delaval, Surge etc...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I have a mini orbit claw on a 7 gal ss bucket.
I checked for mastitis this morn with a cmt test. I don't have much experience but the milk looked fine to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
She's probably kicking because she's done. On another note, you mention when the milker comes off you suck up hay or straw. Make sure your milking area is a very clean flat surface. Plain dirt works okay or better yet get you a rubber mat like what's in the back of pickup trucks and put that down. Then after you get done milking you can drag it out and hose it off. There was a thread a while back of 'post your milking area' and someone posted a photo of a real nice homemade set of stanchions. They were made out of wood, with a feed box built on the other side, the floor was dirt, the whole thing looked nice and tidy.
 

·
Very Dairy
Joined
·
14,609 Posts
She may be light in one quarter, and when it's milked out, the machine becomes uncomfortable, so she kicks.

Next time she takes the milker off, check all 4 quarters ... if one (or more) is empty, plug it or fold it under (to shut off the vacuum to it) and put the rest of the units back on until she's done.

There was a cow in the herd I used to milk who was that way ... when her light quarter was done, she'd kick off the milker, and that was my cue to put it back on the other 3 quarters. We had a system worked out ... LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
She actually is light in two quarters. I mean pretty darn light. What kind of plug could I use?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
I remember what I did now- ONE DO NOT FEED THEM WHEN milking wait till after they learn that if they are GOOD they get a treat after- another thing I did is put a stool between me and the leg then they kick the stool and not me hurt them more. It stopped my gal-Liz
 

·
Very Dairy
Joined
·
14,609 Posts
Skye, if you have a dairy supply nearby, they make a plug that fits in the end of the milker.

I have seen farmers use an old-fashioned fuse from an electrical fuse box, too!
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top