New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
CobaltSmith
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New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby CobaltSmith » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:02 pm

I recently started a new job milking cows at a local privately owned farm. I started in Oct and my arms have taken a brutal beating. I've tried long sleeve shirts. All they do is get ripped, torn and become a cesspool of bacteria and filth. I'm looking for a way to protect my arms from getting the crap beat out of them from kicks. I am one of 7 milkers and sadly, not all of us follow the rules of how to properly milk. Thus, our 300+ cows get a bit antsy and jumpy when they come into the parlor.

I'm 6'2" and the parlor was designed for someone 5ft tall or shorter. So, the contortion act I have to do every day is always fun. But it's also why I have so much trouble keeping my arms from being bashed. I'm gentle so they don't hurt but they have no reason to trust me so I just have to deal with the kicks. Any help is appreciated.
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TexasBred
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby TexasBred » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:40 pm

Cows should be calm while in the milking parlor. Sounds like you're either "had" some abusive employees or you have some now. The cattle are nervous, uneasy and ready to unload on everyone and everything. I'd really have to be there and see exactly what is happening and how you guys are doing things to be able to make any real recommendations.
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby Till-Hill » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:10 pm

I'd 2nd TB on the cows but on the link here I use these milking sleeves to stay clean. Work great.

http://www.uddertechinc.com/?q=store/aprons
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby M5farm » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:18 pm

you should whisper softly to them before you grab their teets.
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dun
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby dun » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:17 pm

M5farm wrote:you should whisper softly to them before you grab their teets.

But you don;t have to kiss them, but offering to take them out to dinner might not hurt.

I used to wear sleeves that were some kind of Tyvek kind of material. Washed them after milking and they usually held up for a week or so.
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby bigbull338 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:38 pm

its best to always wear shortsleeves in the milk barn.that way when youget peed an messed on you can wash your arms off easy.now dealong with nervious cows.theres no way to prevent that since theres alot of milkers milking the cows.the best thing you can do is try to stay calm an not yell or get upset when the cows get upset in the barn.
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby regolith » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:08 pm

Milking sleeves made out of waterproof material - they can be home-made, I don't know how but you need to elasticate the cuffs either end.

Stay calm, move slowly, talk softly around the cows. If you're lucky they'll recognise you in time as a 'safe person'; but that's an unpleasant situation to be in & if other staff or the boss are fuelling the problems you'd enjoy life much better in a well-behaved herd. Also in an appropriate milking set-up. It's going to take a lot of flexing exercises to undo the tension if you don't want a bad back very quickly.
From my own experiences, bad behaviour in cows can be transformed in a matter of a few months, they just keep getting better if they're treated right. Look at the rest of the cows' experience as well - are the machines working well, the pipes not pressing in on them or rubbing them, the floors safe for them to walk on without fear, any possibility of stray current?

How come seven milkers? In this country two people milking is normal for up to 400 cows. Three milkings a day?
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby regolith » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:17 pm

bigbull338 wrote:its best to always wear shortsleeves in the milk barn.that way when youget peed an messed on you can wash your arms off easy.now dealong with nervious cows.theres no way to prevent that since theres alot of milkers milking the cows.the best thing you can do is try to stay calm an not yell or get upset when the cows get upset in the barn.


I wear short sleeves unless it's really cold, and then a cardigan is fine - hardly any of the cows even twitch when the cups are put on.
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby dun » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:16 pm

regolith wrote:Milking sleeves made out of waterproof material - they can be home-made, I don't know how but you need to elasticate the cuffs either end.

That's how the Tyvek type sleeves ae made
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby TexasBred » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:48 am

regolith wrote:
bigbull338 wrote:its best to always wear shortsleeves in the milk barn.that way when youget peed an messed on you can wash your arms off easy.now dealong with nervious cows.theres no way to prevent that since theres alot of milkers milking the cows.the best thing you can do is try to stay calm an not yell or get upset when the cows get upset in the barn.


I wear short sleeves unless it's really cold, and then a cardigan is fine - hardly any of the cows even twitch when the cups are put on.


I did as well. Seldom even had a cow pee or crap while being milked. Two milk hands handled 400 cows easily as our setup had cows going and coming constantly on both sides of the pit so you never had to get in a big hurry. Just glide around in the pit. We did keep a radio going all the time playing "elevator music".
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CobaltSmith
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby CobaltSmith » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:29 pm

regolith wrote:How come seven milkers? In this country two people milking is normal for up to 400 cows. Three milkings a day?



I certainly do everything I can to remain calm. I've noticed they can pick up on my MOOD even if I'm not acting it out. I won't lie, right now I regard them as the dumbest animal I've ever worked with. That being said, I've seen them do some remarkably intelligent things. So I'm leaning more towards a (they are just bored and want something different) attitude. Three milkings a day in 5-6 hour shifts. Two sides running at 8 cows per side. We have a radio that plays NOTHING!!! but country......... Not my choice but I keep a headphone in one ear to hear my own music. Other ear is for hearing slipped or kicked milkers.

I wont' speak to what my bosses do or don't do about how my co-workers act. However, I will say that it's VERY hard for us to find milkers that will stay on. It isn't a "glamorous" job and for what the work is, the pay is kinda be nice. Mid-Michigan area and raking in $8.25 an hour. Not *bad* pay but hardly something you stick around for unless you enjoy the work. Which I do. I like my bosses and all that. I get along with most of my co-workers. The cows being hard is just part of the job *though, apparently it seems that it isn't a part that HAS to be there*.

And it's funny someone should mention whispering to them. I actually have noticed that speaking to them like you would a child helps a great deal. I feel like a complete idiot talking to a cow like that but I'll be damned if it doesn't work. I'd say about 70% of the cows I "sweet talk" calm down until I walk away. Then they start kicking and being agitated again. Parlor is an older one but still safe. The floor does have some concrete pits and what have you but it's the same one they have walked on their entire milking lives. No interfering pipes or other intrusions that I know of or have noticed.

Again guys, I knew NOTHING about cows when I started this job in OCT. Been on farms on and off my entire life. What I know of cows now has come from the vets on the farm. What they know is a mix of personal experience and research. (Hearsay but no reason not to trust it.)

I appreciate the feedback and suggestions. No matter..... how creative. :D
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bigbull338
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby bigbull338 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:47 am

since you have kicking cows im assuming your milking in a double 8 herringbone barn.
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby cowmilker » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:04 pm

If the cows are kicking the milkers off after you walk away, something is wrong with the milker. Reread Rego's suggestion above about stray current (we call it stray voltage- google it).
A couple other things : Regarding cows as the dumbest animal you've ever worked with is probably not the best attitude to have- they have a keen sense for subtle human behavior. Besides, that would be chickens.
You're new here- no curse words.
I commend you for wanting to do a good job. Craig
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby M5farm » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:48 pm

You thought I was being funny with the whisper in her ear but truth be told most everything will calm down with a soft calm voice. That trick will even work with human girls.
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CobaltSmith
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Re: New milker. Looking for tips and tricks and suggestions.

Postby CobaltSmith » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:47 pm

cowmilker wrote: You're new here- no curse words.


*Sigh* List? Different forums have different standards for "curse" words. Personally I think it's foolish but I won't go breaking the rules so long as I have a full understanding of them.

I will definitely look up what I can about "Stray Current". As for how I regard them, that can't really be helped. And yes, chickens should top that list lol. But an animal that does the same thing 3 times a day and over 1 thousand times a year and STILL acts confused and scared about it..... I just can't wrap my brain around it. But, I am new and assume a different kind of perception comes with experience. And again, I do what I can to remain calm and I actually treat them like I would an infant or toddler.
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