What is your process of milking your cow?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by allenslabs, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

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    I am going to be getting a heifer and won't have to worry about milking my girl till march of next yr but was wondering what you all do when you milk your cow. I mean from the beginning...... I walk out the door with my bucket of warm water and pail......... start from there. You clean your cow, milk her take the milk in and then what. I'm not sure what to do with my milk or anything from that point. Thanks!
     
  2. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    Most people strain their milk into a one gallon "tote". If your going to skim cream, put the tote in the 'fridge. If you're going to drink it whole, pour it into bottles or a pitcher. Try and find some glass milk bottles if you can, they're about the best for storing/using your milk. Enjoy!
     

  3. Lazy J5

    Lazy J5 Member

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    I train my heifers to the milk stanchion several weeks before the calf arrives. I put her favorite grain in the stanchion, then clip and clean the udder, handle her teats, etc. Do this slowly and gently, over a few weeks. You don't want her to fear the stanchion, headcatch, or whatever facility you will use. That way when the time comes, it's not a big surprise for her. She will probably be scared and confused the first few times you milk, and this training will help her and you get through it.

    I like to tie a piece of butter muslin or fine (not the coarse guaze type) cheesecloth over to the milk bucket to help keep the milk as clean as possible. During warm weather, I place a tupperware full of ice in the bucket, so the milk is being chilled while I'm milking.

    If the cow has long hairs on the udder, keeping her clipped will help keep dirt and such from falling into the bucket. It also acts as a strip cup. You'll be surprised as how much stuff can fall off all clean, well groomed cow. I clean the udder and teats with diluted chlorhexidine. I don't like to use bleach, it's very hard on the cow's skin. I use mastitis test cards with the first streams of milk.
    I put Bag Balm or something similiar on her after milking.

    I highly recommend you get a milk filter and filters. They cost very little and filter the milk much better than cheesecloth.

    I keep milk in gallon glass jars and skim the cream for drinking milk. The cream gets used for butter, cream cheese, etc. I leave the cream in milk that get used for cheese, ice creams, soaps and the like.

    I don't pasteurize, and never use the milk if there's any question that the cow may be developing mastitis or other problem. It's also a good idea to have a TB test done on the cow and have her vaccinated for bangs (they have to have this vaccine before they turn a year old).

    The most common way for cows to get mastitis is by laying in wet, nasty, soiled bedding. They lay in the manure and it enters the udder through the teats. I clean the cow's pen twice daily when she's not being kept on pasture.

    The most important step: enjoy the bounty of farm fresh milk. ;)
     
  4. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    You couldn't have received better advice than from LazyJ 5. She shared her milking into an ice filled container with me and it was a great idea.

    I follow fiasco farms recipes for sanitizing and udder wash/ teat dip. I sanitize my 3 gallon bucket by filling it with cold water and 3/8 cup bleach (Fiaso farms says 1/4 cup to 2 gallons of water). I put my funnel and any caps from the jars into the bucket to sanitize everything all at once. I let it set for 2 minutes. I put a stopper in the sink and put my bottles in the sink. I pour the sanitizing soultion into the bottles and let them set for 2 min. After the sanitizing water is poured out, the pail and bottles need to rest for 15 minutes to let the bleach water evaporate. I put a plastic bag on the outside of the pail and place muslin cloth on the top. (I got the cloth from Hoegger goat supply. The local fabric store had horrible muslin).

    Next I mix up the udder was teat dip (1 gallon water, 2 drops dawn dish detergent, 1/4 cup bleach).

    Corabelle meets me at the stanchion for grain and hay. I wash her up with the udder wash, milk her, give her graham crackers (the goats too, even though none of them are milking...one needs to not play favorites), put a little teat dip in 2 disposable cups, rinse the teats with them, spray Fight Bac (any local feed store or Hoegger's) and we're on our way to the house where the general idea is to filter it (Hoegger's again) and get it into the fridge as fast as possible.

    I wash the pail in hot soapy water in the am and put it in the dishwasher in the pm. All my bottle and caps go in the dishwasher, but as stated, everything gets sanitized before use. Hope this helps, but be warned I am new at this and know only enough to be dangerous. Blessing to you!!!
     
  5. mamalisa

    mamalisa Well-Known Member

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    Oops!... Well, I tend to figure that people stayed healthy before bleach, and I don't like chemicals, so....

    Daisy spends the night in her stall, and then I clip a lead to her halter and tie the lead to the ladder in the fold area of the barn. She stands as I scrub her udder with Ivory soap and hot water, and dry it with a towel. Then I put down her grain bucket and begin milking while she eats. First I milk out most of her hind quarters, and then the front, alternating back to finish off the back....she's short-teated in the back, and it makes my hands cramp, so I have to change off. When I'm done, I put lotion on her udder.

    I milk into a large stockpot, which gets dumped periodically---less so as she learns to be still---into a large stainless steel pail with a cover. Then I carry stuff...milk, grain bucket, wash water pail/stool, lantern, etc....up to the house.
    I strain the milk into an enameled stockpot, and put it in the fridge. If needed, we skim it a bit.

    Pots and pails are washed in hot soapy (Ivory) water.
     
  6. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Washing equipment (and my girl) in diluted chlorohexadrine was also mentioned to me. Eventually I will get a gallon and start diluting it, so you may want to go with mamalisa's or Lazy J5's ideas. I like the idea of ivory soap too. I know that the main thing is it needs to be a gentle soap.
     
  7. Lazy J5

    Lazy J5 Member

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    Graham crackers, Christina? I'll have to give that one a try. :haha:
    You can also mix a bit of glycerin in the dilute chlorhexidine if the cow's skin is getting irritated.
    An easy way to skim the milk is to pour it into one of those gallon size, glass ice tea jars with the spigot at the bottom. After the cream rises, let the milk out of the spigot, until just the cream is left in the jar.
    I always rinse my bucket, filter and things with cool water before washing with hot, soapy water. The water doesn't have to be very hot before it will cook the milk into any tiny pits or scratches in the equipment. I use diluted bleach to sanitize equipment once every couple weeks.

    I think there are as many ways to manage the family cow as there are families with milk cows.