Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
Moody
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Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Moody » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:37 pm

I have a jersey calf that I work with daily. I try to lead her with a halter daily but admit that i don't always get to it but I do rub her and pet her daily, trying to make her tame and comfortable with me. She is 2.5 months old, approximately, and I recently weaned her. She is eating at least a 5 pound coffee can of feed a day and grazing on grass and some hay.

I was hoping to find some suggestions on making her a good milker (as in, does not kick me or fight me in any way when we start). I know this is 2 years from now, but I am currently milking a first freshener goat who is beating me down. I can't even get this goat to stop kicking the bucket and stepping in the milk. I can't imagine trying to milk a feisty fighting cow.

Is there anything I should be doing now that will help make things easier? Are horns going to be ok on a family milker?
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Nesikep
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Nesikep » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:51 am

I'm not a dairy expert, but I do milk a couple of my beef cows.. so here's what I do

Yep, they're all tame pets, they are used to being touched all over right from small, and of course getting treats and pettings. Horns are fine if the attitude is fine.

Since this is a jersey, I'd recommend when she has her first calf, bottle feed it ONLY... Don't let it nurse, she'll be used that the only thing that milks her is you.. once they know the calf is supposed to do it it gets much harder.. I have some older cows that got tame older in life, it's a death wish to try and get milk from them, even though they're tame.

Halter breaking is essential too.. Get her used to wearing it now, and get used that you're going to be holding her. Getting them to stop is easy.. getting them to lead nicely can be harder... With my calves, I try and make it so they're always let to where they want to go.. Once in a while I'll take them out and they can graze some grass, then they get thirsty, so they go back 'home' and get a drink.. there's a reward at both ends, so they get used to being OK with wherever I want to lead them.. My success rate isn't 100%, but I've got some big cows that'll lead and I never have to put any tension on the rope. Some people tie them up for extended times, and I've found if you start early, it's not necessary.. if they're big enough to tow you around the yard, then you may need to do that a while.

With my best milkable beef cow, I just go up to her, give her a flake of hay or a bucket of grain, and I can milk, no stanchions or anything.. I like that


Good luck!
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Rafter S
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Rafter S » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:23 am

It's been close to 40 years since I milked a cow, and there's a lot I've forgotten, but I know we didn't bottle feed the calves. We'd keep the calf penned up and turn the cow out in the pasture to graze. When it got to be time to milk we'd turn the cow in and give her some feed, and let the calf nurse for a few minutes so the cow would let the milk down. Then I'd pull the calf off and milk the cow, leaving enough for the calf. When I was finished milking I'd turn the calf back with the cow to finish nursing.

No offense to Nesi, but milking the cow and then turning around and bottle feeding the calf is way too much work.
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Moody » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:20 am

I wondered if bottle feeding would make milking easier....no mama trying to hold back cream or milk for baby. I would get it all from the start.
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Rafter S » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:28 am

Moody wrote:I wondered if bottle feeding would make milking easier....no mama trying to hold back cream or milk for baby. I would get it all from the start.


My :2cents: That's certainly an option, but as I said, it's more work for no good reason. The only reason I'd consider bottle-feeding the calf is if you were going to keep all the milk for yourself and give the calf bought powdered milk. But the calf won't do nearly as well on powdered milk.
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby bigbull338 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:18 am

just keep working with her leading her rubbing on her rubbing her teats.when she kicks tell her no.and keep it up till she quits kicking.now you have to keep it up.
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Nesikep » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:52 pm

No offense taken, but at least at the start, until she is used to YOU being the "calf", it would probably make life easier.. It also depends on how much milk you want out of the deal, if you're looking for a quart or two a day or 4 gallons.
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Moody
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Moody » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:43 pm

I'm looking for about a gallon a day. Mostly drinking And a bit of cream for a little butter once a week. So for a family of 3 that should be plenty. I could use extra for other things but my desire is around a gallon.

I'm having a hard time with a goat. I can't imagine if a cow were to be so feisty or able to get out of a hobble....there is no way that would work out.

Ideally this jersey would stand for milking even without grain offered, she would be that tame and easy.
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby chippie » Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:26 pm

Rafter S wrote:It's been close to 40 years since I milked a cow, and there's a lot I've forgotten, but I know we didn't bottle feed the calves. We'd keep the calf penned up and turn the cow out in the pasture to graze. When it got to be time to milk we'd turn the cow in and give her some feed, and let the calf nurse for a few minutes so the cow would let the milk down. Then I'd pull the calf off and milk the cow, leaving enough for the calf. When I was finished milking I'd turn the calf back with the cow to finish nursing.

No offense to Nesi, but milking the cow and then turning around and bottle feeding the calf is way too much work.


We milk what we need, then let the calf strip the cow out.

Also, do not make a pet out of your heifer. Halter break her, teach her to stand tied and be lead, and teach her to stand still while tied to be brushed. Brush all over, under her belly and down her legs.
Do this daily and she will be gentle when it comes time to teach her to stand to be milked.

Are you going to milk by hand or with a machine.
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Moody
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby Moody » Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:48 pm

Likely for one cow it will be by hand.
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Re: Any suggestions for making a good family milker?

Postby AllForage » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:35 pm

We had two family jerseys a few years ago. I suggest having a stanchion or head gate set up for first milkings.

We let calf nurse all the colostrum and she had enough milk for us and calf. I don't believe the holding back thing. Once cslf starting getting some size, we would separate them by gate at night then milk in morning. Turn calf in the rest of day. The calf constantly nursing keps her milk production up imo.
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