Milker questions (lots of questions)

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
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Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:52 pm

I am thinking about getting a milking machine. I have always milked by hand, as long as I have been around cows. I think I have read enough to understand the basics of how it all works. A few questions for those with milking machines:

The milker:
What style does a better job milking?

Do you still need to hand strip after milking or will the milker get all the milk out?

The two I am aware of are Delaval style or Surge. When I say Delaval style I mean the kind with the "claw", I realize there are several brand names with similar set ups. In my "newness" to this, I am still not aware of all the differences that may exist between all the claw types.

What kind is easier to clean and handle?

What kind is more versatile?

What kind is easier to get parts for and repair?

The vacuum pump:
This would be set up for a single milker. I don't plan to milk multiple cows or have multiple buckets.

What is the CFM and what vacuum does the pump need to be capable of generating?

From what I have read and understand the vacuum of the line should be in the 14" to 15" Hg area. I have seen some say as low as 10" to 11" Hg. What is the advantage to a higher vacuum? How can you tell if it is adjusted correctly?

I have read numbers from 3 CFM to 12 CFM on the airflow side. Are those flow rates at 10"-15" Hg or are they at no vacuum?

Can a low CFM pump, capable of the 15" Hg pressure, be compensated for with extra storage capacity? Similar to how you can get a smaller air compressor and hook it up to a large tank. Once the tank is up to pressure, you can have a short term high demand and still get by. It seems the biggest demand for flow is when the milker is going on. So if there were a larger reserve tank, it seems that flow could be buffered some. I guess what I am wondering is what is the operating CFM for a milker and what is the starting CFM or CFM to apply the milker?

Are there any kinds of vacuum pumps that just won't work? I think rotary vane is the most common I have seen. There are a lot of different types. If I can generate the required CFM and vacuum, will it run the milker?

The procedure:

I have watched a few videos, but tips would be very much appreciated. It looks like you clean the cow off, the same as hand milking. Then put the milker on one teat at a time. I am unsure as to how you determine when it is done in each quarter and how to remove the milker. Does it fall off when it is done? Or is that the purpose to the clear hose I see on some so you can tell when a quarter is done? Do you take one off at a time or all at once? Do you shut the vacuum off first? I have seen some that look like they are really hard to get off. Is that from too much vacuum?

What kinds of things do I need to avoid and do to not have a train wreck on my hands?

I am sorry if some of these questions are really simple. I appreciate all the input from those on here. I am sure everyone has their own way of doing things, which is normal. Just wondering what works for all of you.

Thanks
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby cowmilker » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:07 pm

I can't answer all your questions, but I'll offer my opinion. I use a portable unit from EZ Nupulse.
http://ezmilking.com/products/milking.html#claws
I got everything as a package at World Dairy Expo- saved about $200 as a show special.
I have the 3/4 hp vacuum pump that I mounted to a platform on wheels that is big enough to haul the bucket as well. I can take it to where ever I need it (barn, shows, cleaning area).
I recommend the clear bucket- no surprises. I don't like the claws that have integral pulsators- I think it would scare the cow, at least initially.
You can see the milk accumulating in the claw- when the volume slows to a crawl, give it about 5-10 more seconds, then disengage the vaccum with a button on the claw and the inflations should fall off. Don't hand strip.
Heck, I'm just north of Cincinnati. You could just come by and I'll show it to you. Craig
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby chippie » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:34 pm

Look for a complete portable milking machine. It would be better to get one that is set up rather than try to put one together yourself.

I have purchased from this company in the past. They carry Nu-Plus.

http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/home.php?cat=77
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:28 pm

cowmilker wrote:I can't answer all your questions, but I'll offer my opinion. I use a portable unit from EZ Nupulse.
http://ezmilking.com/products/milking.html#claws
I got everything as a package at World Dairy Expo- saved about $200 as a show special.
I have the 3/4 hp vacuum pump that I mounted to a platform on wheels that is big enough to haul the bucket as well. I can take it to where ever I need it (barn, shows, cleaning area).
I recommend the clear bucket- no surprises. I don't like the claws that have integral pulsators- I think it would scare the cow, at least initially.
You can see the milk accumulating in the claw- when the volume slows to a crawl, give it about 5-10 more seconds, then disengage the vaccum with a button on the claw and the inflations should fall off. Don't hand strip.
Heck, I'm just north of Cincinnati. You could just come by and I'll show it to you. Craig


Craig - you are not far at all from me. I make it up to Cincinnati about once a week. I might just take you up on the offer to check out your set up. It won't be anytime really soon. I have been covered up with project. Thanks for the offer, you are a good neighbor!
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:32 pm

chippie wrote:Look for a complete portable milking machine. It would be better to get one that is set up rather than try to put one together yourself.

I have purchased from this company in the past. They carry Nu-Plus.

http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/home.php?cat=77


Chippie I really wish I could spend the money on that set up. It looks amazing! I get my filters and other small stuff from Hamby and I have drooled over their milkers already. I just can't spend $2100 on it right now. I would like to be able to get something set up for $800 to $1000 - but still make it something that is decent quality I don't have problems with. If it comes to spending $2100, I will have to wait another year or 4. :cboy:
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby chippie » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:43 pm

Check at ebay.
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:25 pm

chippie wrote:Check at ebay.

I have been. That is what started the questions above. Since I have never even used a milker, a lot of questions came up! :lol: A completed milker kit would be perfect. I just don't know what I am looking at. I have no idea what kind to get or not to get or anything about them. Whats good and whats bad. What other people like. So far two votes for EZ Nupulse!
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby I luv herfrds » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:42 pm

I have an older Surge milker I use.

Vaccum pump
Image

Milk bucket
Image

Starting milking
Image

You can just see the belly belt on the last picture. I put the strap over her back just before her pelvic bones. Once I get the milker going I move the belt behind the pelvic bones. I hook the handle underneath the belly strap on the metal bar. I wash her bag and squeeze some milk out of each teat. Yes I would strip her out.
Mine only takes around 15-20 minutes to wash up.
I still can get parts for mine from at least 3 different places.

No the suction needs to be broken between the inflator aka teat cup and the teat. If you break the suction with one teat and allow air to enter it the other 3 will fall off. I do it on just one and the other 3 fall off.

Just take your tme. Ask questions when you are having trouble and we will help you out as we can. Make sure you are set up and ready to go before your cow calves. I was used to hand milking too, but Honey kicked the living crap out of me. She won and has never kicked the bucket milking her. Go figure.

Hope this helps you out.
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:16 pm

Thanks for the pictures and information I luv herfrds. It was very helpful. You are too kind to post all that.

I think I am just going to wade into this one foot at a time. I might just have to call Hamby dairy on Monday and see what they say. I would love to get something set up here in the next few weeks. I have a heifer who is going to calve in the next week or two and I was hoping to have the milker for her. She has tiny little teats - at least right now. I have... not so small hands. I can probably hand milk her for a week or two. She hasn't taken a swing at me yet and we do some practice runs! :lol2: I know, it is not the same as the real thing. I hate first calvers for milking! I think I am going to order some parts and set it up and see what happens. I am sure I will have more questions as I get started.
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby chippie » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:21 am

Please be careful about practicing milking before she calves.
The calf needs the colostrum that you are removing. Once it is gone, it is gone.
She won't replace that you have taken out.
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby I luv herfrds » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:01 pm

My only complaint with this set up of mine is when she gets the urge to poop or pee the belt slides off her back and the cups lose suction.
She pooped once and before I could grab the belt the cups lost suction and the hind cups dropped into the poop and the suction started again and I just heard that sloop and I just stood there cussing!
Dumped the milk that day.

I know a lady that has a milk bucket for sale. It is one that stands on the floor and has the clear tubes coming off the cups. I can find out what she wants for it. It does not come with the vaccum pump.
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:25 pm

chippie wrote:Please be careful about practicing milking before she calves.
The calf needs the colostrum that you are removing. Once it is gone, it is gone.
She won't replace that you have taken out.


I don't actually milk her. I meant I put her in the barn, wash her down, clean off her udder and teats really good, move her legs around and just start getting her used to the process. I don't milk her. I wouldn't milk a cow before she calved. Sorry for the confusion. I meant "dry" run practice milking!
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:33 pm

I luv herfrds wrote:My only complaint with this set up of mine is when she gets the urge to poop or pee the belt slides off her back and the cups lose suction.
She pooped once and before I could grab the belt the cups lost suction and the hind cups dropped into the poop and the suction started again and I just heard that sloop and I just stood there cussing!
Dumped the milk that day.

I know a lady that has a milk bucket for sale. It is one that stands on the floor and has the clear tubes coming off the cups. I can find out what she wants for it. It does not come with the vaccum pump.

I was thinking of getting one that stands on the ground with the clear tubes. At least it wouldn't slide off if she pooped - I am sure there will be something else, but that one shouldn't be a problem. I would be very interested in it. Would that set up have to go freight? I can send you a PM with my information. Thanks again I luv herfrds!
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby bigbluegrass » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:12 am

I called Hamby, asked him all my questions and bought one of their clear top milkers - a used one they had. Got answers to pretty much everything. He recommended the Surge type like I luv hrfds has if you do not have hot water in the barn - because you can take it to the house and clean it easier. If you have hot water and plan to wash it in the barn, he recommended the two other kinds. He said all the ones they have do a good job milking. They recommend taking all the milkers off at once unless one quarter is really fast (like 30 seconds and the others are 5 minutes). Milker works best if it is on 4 quarters. For the vacuum pump, he said the ones they have are 8 CFM at 12" Hg and can be set up for two milkers. I have a 4 cfm at 12" Hg and he said that should be fine for one milker. The surge type milkers use less vacuum and are easier to run on low vacuum. He said the vacuum line should be set for 12" Hg. I got the vacuum regulator from them as well. Should be here Monday or Tuesday. So I only have a few days of hand milking this cow. She has tiny tiny teats - like 1/2" long and 1/2" round. Not even two finger teats. It takes forever to get anywhere. I need to get her bag loosened up a little. He said to rub peppermint oil or tea tree oil in a base and massage it on the udder. I would have ordered that as well, but it needs to be done ASAP.

The whole thing comes with instructions so I can read up on the whole procedure. I imagine I will still have questions, but there are great people on here!

Thanks to everyone who commented and posted answers and PICTURES:) I would put some cool smileys and the jumping banana guy in here. :) lol
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Re: Milker questions (lots of questions)

Postby chippie » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:46 am

cool beans! happy that you were able to find a set up. : )
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