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Author Topic: Hand Milking  (Read 3962 times)

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Hand Milking
« on: July 27, 2009, 08:08:49 am »
Hi all.

Does anyone have any useful tips for hand milking our newly calved heifer?   
I am used to milking Goats so the tecnique is not too different.  She is quiet and fairly easily handled and will stand in her stall with a bit of food whilst I milk her. The trouble is that she kicks quite a bit, especially once the food is finished, and I'm wondering if, like the goats, she will improve with time.  I could increase the food but she is already giving plenty of milk and is on the plump side.

I have seen "hobbles" used but am not sure how kind it is to use one whilst milking or if perhaps having something to kick against will make it worse.

Her calf is in the pen next door to her, so she can see it, and as soon as I have finished my attempts at milking mum and calf are re-united so Charlotte can have breakfast.

Any thoughts appreciated

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk
Voss Electric Fence

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2009, 08:56:40 pm »
I guess that she is kicking because she knows that when you have finished she will get her calf back.

We used to milk a cow in this way, but found that it got harder and harder to get the milk as time went on. Eventually the cow stopped letting the milk down, and unlike goats, if the cow doesn't let it down you won't get any milk however much you try.

Now we take the calf off the cow at four days old, milk twice a day and bucket rear the calf. It is much less stressful all round.
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 09:14:34 am »
Couldn't you let the calf suck one side and milk the other - presumably she can't let down milk in two quarters and not in the other two?

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2009, 06:41:13 pm »
You can do that  and we did do it for one lactation, and when the calf was small it worked quite well, but once the calf is four or five months old it will knock you off the side you are milking. Also, if you have ever watched a calf suckling, they get all bubbly and frothy round the mouth. This then drips off the calf and straight in to the milk bucket which is hardly hygienic!

The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2009, 08:47:04 pm »
She does seem to be a lot better today and seems to have accepted that it is a short time in which she is being milked. 
A neighbor showed me how to tie a rope above the knees to stop her kicking and it has worked!  She stands quietly now and only fidgits a bit towards the end.  I am getting quicker too so the whole affair now only lasts 5 minutes. 
I understand what you mean Dot and Tim about taking the calf away but it is not an easy option for us as we do not want all the milk and obviously do not want Star to be on her own.  Also, there is always the option to leave the calf on and not milk if there was a problem.
She is not easy to milk as it is her first calf and the back two teats are very small (and I have big hands!) but I concentrate on the front ones and leave the back for the calf as she is better equipped to get milk out of them.
Another first is that she walked in from the field to the Byre tonight with almost no coaxing.
I'll keep you posted and try to get some photos soon.

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2009, 10:09:50 am »
Sounds like everything is working out fine. Yes, more pics, please. I love cows.

smiffy

  • Joined Jun 2008
    • http://www.northmoor-rarebreeds.com/
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2009, 11:39:46 pm »
We have 3 cows one i can milk the other two kick and pretty well aimed.....food or not.

I would love to know the rope trick ;D

no one near me milks cattle

chickens

  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2009, 07:46:42 am »
Hi

When our jersey cow calved we used to milk with the calf in the pen with her, he didn't seem to milk at the same time just laid down by his mothers feet, always worked well.


Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 09:55:23 pm »
Hi Smiffy

The way I was shown was to tie a rope just above the knee of one leg, use an easy release knot, just in case.  Then tie other end of rope to other leg at the same level again with an easy release knot.  Try to get the legs as close together as possible.  If she kicks she can not kick as high or as hard and it is uncomfortable for her to do so as it pulls on the other leg.  What amazes me is that she stands quietly while I put it on her!

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk

smiffy

  • Joined Jun 2008
    • http://www.northmoor-rarebreeds.com/
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2009, 11:48:56 pm »
Hi Dave
all my cattle are halter trained, so i can tie them up no issue, they will endure a brush, so roping the legs should be ok. BUT dare to touch the udders!!!

I will try the rope next calving as they are dried up at the minute

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 07:34:21 pm »
Hi Dave
all my cattle are halter trained, so i can tie them up no issue, they will endure a brush, so roping the legs should be ok. BUT dare to touch the udders!!!

I will try the rope next calving as they are dried up at the minute

If your cattle are all halter trained, spend the time when they are dry getting them used to having their udders handled. There should be no need to rope cattle - it certainly shouldn't be used routinely. Using a rope is the lazy option. Fair enough a heifer might fuss abit when she first calves, but presumably you will have been intending to milk her, so should take the time to get her used to having her udder handled before she calves.

The key to happy and relaxed milking is a good relationship between you and your cows. If you have to rope them to milk, then your relationship with your stock is not what it should be.
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2009, 08:18:26 am »
It seems the rope did the trick.  I do not need to put it on now as she seems to be a bit more trusting.
When I have been going to give the cattle water each day I have always gone to Star and given her a bit of a fuss then run my hand underneath and handled her udder. (Only got arrested twice!)
The latest trick is to finish her food then lift one leg as if to kick, then she looks round at me and I tell her to stand properly and talk to her and she settles again!  Even if I start talking sooner she still does it.  It's not a problem, just a thought on the funny ways that develop between animals and us.

We have been skimming the milk, and made our first butter this week.  Wow, it is so nice.  You some times wonder if the thought of home produced food makes you think it's nicer, but this is very different and so creamy.

Dot and Tim,  Can you make yogurt with the skimmed milk, or do we need to keep some whole for this?

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2009, 07:50:29 pm »
Yes you could make yoghurt with the skim milk, but it would be much nicer with whole milk. I sometimes go even further and put a big dollop of cream in the whole milk and then make the yoghurt.

We are using butter out of the freezer at the moment - we were making over 2 lb butter a day and then the motor on the separator went and we haven't had a chance to see about a new one yet. Tim has a washing machine motor kicking around in the depths of his workshop
that he thinks might do the job.

I hope we can get it done soon though or we will miss the cream season. Its not really worth making butter after the end of September as it takes too long for it to "come".
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hand Milking
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 09:13:14 am »
Glad things are working out on the milking front.

 

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