new to milking

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by dhaley, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. dhaley

    dhaley Rebel Chick

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    I am wanting to buy a good milk cow, so I have a couple questions. First, when is the best time of year to buy a cow or does it matter. Would Nov. be okay?
    Second, is it hard to teach yourself how to milk? I am scared of getting kicked, especially in the stomach. I had a hysterectomy because of endometreosis and my stomach is extremely sensitive. I have read many articles and most make it sound easy to do. But then I read an article about how dangerous cows can be. Would really appreciate any help. My hubby and I are just starting out on our homestead.
    Oh, and one more thing, would a jersey be good for us beginners?
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    The most important trait you want in a home milk cow is a good temperament. If you have a nice, gentle cow you won't have any problem with her kicking. Since you are new to milking, I would suggest getting a cow that has already been used as a family cow, and that has already been taught to hand milk. Get her while she is milking, and bred back if possible. These cows, btw, are as scarce as hen's teeth. It may take a while to find just the right one. Be paitent! I cannot stress this enough. Since this is your first cow, take your time to be sure you get one that you can handle. In the meantime, READ, READ, READ. This forum is a good place. Go back and read some of the old threads. There's a lot on here on family cows. Be as prepared as you can when you get your cow.

    Any time of year to get her is fine as long as you have a place set up to milk comfortably. If you live in a cold climate, it might be better to get her in the spring. That way you would have time to get used to the milking routine before you had to brave the weather to do it.

    There are also a couple of good books available. One is called The Family Cow, I believe. Storey's also publishes one, I think, but I can't remember the title exactly right now. I'm sure someone else will suggest it, and give the title.

    Jersey cows as a rule are quiet, gentle cows that make a nice home milk cow, but there are always exceptions. Cows are individuals, just like people. Again, look around till you find just the right one.

    I hope this helps. I'm sure others will have suggestions that I failed to mention. Good luck.
     

  3. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    http://familycow.proboards32.com/ You should really check out this forum lots of great advise and help. My one suggestion would be to have a stanchion they make life so much easier. Our little jersey still kicks sometimes but she has gotten a lot better. Like tyusclan said about one that has been a family milker they will be more adjusted to hand milking and being around people more. It is defiently a great experience when you first taste the milk. We love our jersey just the right size for a small acreage.
     
  4. cindy04

    cindy04 Well-Known Member

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    The family cow web site that dk 40207 mentioned is awesome. You may also find someone in your area that milks and would give you a hand in learning. Let us know were your at and also ask for assistance on the family cow site and I'm sure someone will be willing to help. We're in NW MO, if you live close to us we'll sit you on a stool and get you started!

    Cindy
     
  5. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    I know when i milk MY stomach is not exposed just from the position im in a bit hunkered with my arms in front, now i have had my feet stepped on a few times, If you use kickers ( which i do to train, after that they usually don't need them except for refresher) they cant lift their feet up. I have a few you could come and look at I am in nw of kc, none are fresh right now, but one is close, she however is not trained yet,

    btw i trained myself and my cow to milk at the same time, and have since trained her daughter. Its mostly whatever works for you, once you get past the mechanics
     
  6. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    dHaley - Buy a Guernsey :)
     
  7. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pssst!! Buy a Jersey......<sorry, couldn't resist :p >

    As others have pointed out, be sure to buy one that is accustomed to being hand milked and milk her before you buy. :)
     
  8. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    ROTFL :)
     
  9. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    Don't worry, your cow will kick you in the face or break your arm long before she can kick you in the stomach........
     
  10. dhaley

    dhaley Rebel Chick

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    Thank you all for the advice. I have been and plan continuing to read and learn on the subject.
    I live in SE MO in the Ozarks. I am almost on the Arkansas border, its about 45 minutes from me.
     
  11. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey! Your not too far from us!! :)
     
  12. a1cowmilker

    a1cowmilker Well-Known Member

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    I got a jersey that had never been milked before and I was about as green as you could get.

    She tried to kick twice the first time I milked her and the neighbor smacked her and yelled and raised such a racket that she didn't try that again.

    I can't explain it, but, when you are milking you learn really fast to detect when the cow is about to move. It's a slight muscle move, or maybe a very small shifting of the foot. I don't know but I could always tell when I needed to move the bucket quick, or sometimes just give her a shove.

    Wish you the best, cows are very fulfilling ( when they are not making you cry<smile>)

    cowmilker (which is not true these days as my cow is dry)
     
  13. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    dhaley,
    How much milk do you want each day?
    Will you be doing the milking by yourself?
     
  14. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

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    I was 59.5 years old when I got my 10 mo. old 3/4 Guernsey-Red Angus X.

    She was very easy to train to milk. Just handled her, including her udder, curry combed her a lot too, in the months before her first calf. They learn your tone of voice, much like dogs and cats, so if you're upset, let her know. I've never had to physically discipline her at all. She'll kick at flies, but has never swung either leg at me. I keep my head just in front of her thigh so that I can detect when she's gonna move it. Have had my left toes stepped on three times...hurt like the dickens for a few minutes... but not damaged. In four years, she's only gotten her foot in the bucket once. This is not to say that she stands perfectly still when milked, but she is stanchioned.

    I'd milked occasionally when my first husband and I had a Brown Swiss back in '73-'74 time period. She was easy too, and never, ever kicked.

    My experience with milk cows has been really good so far, so I'd not be afraid to train another, even at my age...and I'm not moving any too fast lately, what with arthritic knees to work with.

    I suggest you find a heifer that is nearing the time she'll have her first heat, so you can breed her right away, and won't have but about 9 months 10 days to wait to try her out. My guess is she may be about 12- 15 months old when that's going to be detectable. I got my Ginger in Nov. and bred her the following June, so her first calf was on Mar. 15th., about when most calves are born around here.

    Good luck with your search.
     
  15. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    LOL. Revise to read "Buy a Guernsey - have it trained by Emily of Ozark Jewels"......a mature Jersey that is trained would be my second choice...but quite frankly EVERY first calf Jersey Heifer we milked here had udder edema, and kicked.
    Emily maybe you should go fulltime freshening new heifers, training them and selling them to homemilkers. Better yet you could offer the full service HT Package - A pretrained Handmilking Cow, a weaned family beef steer, a Goat, a feeder pig, and some miscellaneous poultry..Hmmn..Emily Enterprises :p
    Think of the possibilities..I'll let you insert the proper Goat Choices, LOL

    The Belted Package Designer Series:
    1 Dutch Belted Milk Cow
    1 Galloway Belted Steer
    1 Hampshire Hog
    10 Lakenvelder Chickens
    Complementary Package of OREO Cookies

    The Saddle Tan Designer Series:
    1 Jersey Milk Cow
    1 Jersey-Char Cross Steer
    1 Duroc Cross Hog
    10 RIR Hens
    10 Bourbon Red Turkeys
    Complementary Package of Maple Leaf Cookies

    :) :) :) :) :)
     
  16. Timberline

    Timberline Keeper of the Cow

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    I had the same surgery and I know how you feel. I have milked Jerseys, Dexters and crossbreds for 10 years now, have trained heifers and older cows to milk and have never been kicked in or near the stomach (arm and leg yes, but not stomach).

    First, decide how much milk you need. If you want a gallon or so, a Jersey or other dairy breed will drown you. If you want lots for a large family or making cheese, a Dexter or other similiar breed will disappoint you. If you are really scared, the cow will sense that and she will become nervous and more apt to kick or react. They will test you, and if you are afraid they are often quick to take advantage. I learned on a gentle cow that was trained to milk. That really helped me, because she knew the ropes, unlike a frieghtened heifer.

    Not to turn you away from a family cow, but have you considered learning with a good milk goat. You can develop your skills without the threat of a very large animal kicking at you.

    Any time of year to purchase should be fine. Just watch bringing a cow from a warm climate to bitter cold without shelter, or anytime bringing cattle from low altitudes to high (brisket disease).
     
  17. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    As far as worrying about getting kicked in the stomach, I milked through all 3 of my pregnancies (until I got too fat to reach under those short Ayrshires LOL). After my 3rd child I started back to milking after a couple of weeks after having a C-section. It's possible to get kicked there but you have to be pretty talented at getting yourself in a bad situation.

    Heather
     
  18. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ah yes!! I could own the one and only "Family Cow Training Stables". Frisky bred heifer comes in......gentle, mature milking cow comes out. Owner can bypass all the quirks and problems involved in training your own!! For a very minimal fee of course!! :p
     
  19. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, you get a reall good instinct and can feel those muscles begin to bunch before she moves her leg. A lot of times a sharp word and a tap will be enough to distract her and she forgets all about moving.
    I really think, like many have said, that is going to be hard to be kicked in the stomach. I never have, in 18 years of milking. :shrug:
     
  20. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    i couldnt milk last i was pregnant, the sight and smell made me sick and i was afraid it would carry over afterwards( i still cant eat chili carryover from first pregnancy15 years ago)
    it was so bad i could not look at the dairy isle and I love dairy food?