Keeping livestock for milk is one of the oldest and most traditional ways of self-sufficient farming and it is still a way of ensuring food security today. Many types of livestock – including sheep, goats and cattle – can be kept to supply milk. If you would like regular, plentiful supplies of fresh milk daily, with excesses available to produce products like cheese and butter, a dairy cow is your best choice.
How much milk does a cow produce?For a cow to produce milk she will need to be mated 9 months prior in order to give birth to a calf. When she has calved, milk production will continue for up to 10 months. At that point, she should be ‘dried off’ in preparation for her next calving two months later. On average, a milking cow will produce between 35-50 litres of milk each day, with the daily amount decreasing as the season progresses.
Milking routineMilking a cow is a big commitment. Routine is important, so try to milk each day at around the same time, ideally at 12 hour intervals. The simplest system for those with a 9-to-5 job is to milk your cow once a day and keep the ‘calf at foot’. The calf should be separated from its mother in the morning for the late afternoon's milking to ensure you 'get your share' of the day’s production.
Once the cow is milked, the calf can be reunited with its mother for overnight grazing.When milking once a day, the calf will require additional feed supplements (calf pellets) plus daily access to fresh pasture, hay and water during the period when it is separated from its mother. How to milk a cow Hand milking is the traditional method of getting milk from a cow. To be successful, it requires an efficient method and a patient approach.
Basic steps of hand milkingStep 1 – Lead the cow into the milking stall. Have a mixed ration of grain or quality hay ready and waiting. Step 2 – Check the teats. If they are visible dirty, wash the udder with clean water. Cow teats are otherwise surprisingly hygienic. Dry each teat, especially the teat tips. Applying water unnecessarily increases the risk of an udder infection (mastitis).A cow will normally let down her milk by the time milking is ready to commence, with udder massaging often unnecessary.
Milk let-down typically lasts for 10 minutes so try to complete the process within this period. Step 3 – Squirt the first milk from each teat into a cup to check for blood or lumps. This may indicate mastitis, so if you find this, do not consume the milk.Step 4 – Place a sterile milking pale slightly in front of the udder and take a seat. A plastic crate or squat wooden stool is ideal.Step 5 – Wrap the thumb and forefinger around the top of the teat to trap the milk, then slowly squeeze (don’t pull) the teat, bringing in each other finger one at a time in a smooth sequential rolling action, forcing the milk out.
Rotate from one teat to the other allowing each to refill. Step 6 – Once the milk stops, dip or spray each teat with an iodine based teat sanitiser before releasing the cow. Machine milking If hand milking all sounds a bit much, there is always the option of machine milking. Benefits of machine milking include the speed at which milking gets done, improved milking routines (no delays) and enhanced milk let-down due to the pulsation of the machine.
There are mobile milking machines suited to hobby farms that run on 240 volt power. These machines are capable of milking up to six cows an hour or fifteen goats. Dairy Maid Milking Equipment supplies these machines which cost approximately $1500. Cattle breeds and cow selection The most popular dairy cows used for home milking are the Jersey or Guernsey. If you don’t need much milk, or if you are concerned about handling a normal sized cow, small cattle breeds like the miniature Galloway are a worthy alternative.
The most popular dairy cows used for home milking are the Jersey or Guernsey. If you don’t need much milk, or if you are concerned about handling a normal sized cow, small cattle breeds like the miniature Galloway are a worthy alternative. "A cow should want to be milked, and if she is unsettled, something is usually wrong." Selecting and trying to milk a cow that is not accustomed to hand milking, e.
g. direct from a farmer’s herd, is a dangerous option. As a first time milker, you should locate a cow that is broken in, i.e. one that is quiet and able to be led by a halter. Handling your cow First time milkers should use a milking stall, which will protect both the milker and the cow until she becomes familiar with the process. While milking, talk calmly and regularly to your cow and let her know your whereabouts by stroking and patting her.
A cow should want to be milked, and if she is unsettled, something is usually wrong. Don’t lose your temper. If necessary, walk away and try again later; this won’t hurt her. In time, any cow will become very friendly, even affectionate, and will certainly want to be milked. Milking time will then be something for both of you to enjoy. Where to from here? For further information on self-sufficient farming and how to milk a cow, we recommend you purchase a copy of Dairy Agskills.
This book provides information on breeding, feeding, animal welfare and managing calving cows. The author Charlie Roberts is one of the FarmStyle Australia experts, he runs this website along with a successful farm near Dubbo in Central New South Wales, so he walks the talk. Charlie has a Bachelor of Farm Management and a Masters of Business Administration. He has worked for a number of agricultural companies in both New Zealand and Australia.
He has a wealth of experience working with farmers in a range of environments.See Also: Farm Milk The Cow
Explore in regards to the a variety of diverse athletics nutrition health supplements offered and exactly how they can transform your sporting performance
Its really hard to discern the truth regarding the nutritional health dietary supplements available today. How would you know which of the nutritional vitamin dietary supplements to select in the market? This article responses these essential concerns and offers some good quality decisions for top rated supplements in the marketplace today which are normally only obtainable to people by medical doctor offices.
When you think of a dairy cow, the mental picture that pops up in your brain probably depicts a black and white bovine with a shiny coat and an eraser-pink nose. There’s no doubt Holsteins are the most common dairy cow, but they’re not the only breed of cattle that produce dairy products. Holsteins, Jerseys, Guernseys, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorns and Dutch Belted are the seven major dairy cow breeds, and they can all be found in Washington state.
Washington state has nearly 275,000 dairy cows.In fact, Washington boasts over 400 family-run dairy farms with nearly 275,000 contented dairy cows that produce over 800,000,000 gallons of milk a year. And with a little help, you’ll be able to identify the different types of cows you see when driving by your local dairy. 1. Holsteins The most popular of all the dairy cow breeds, Holsteins are black and white (and sometimes red).
Their markings are like human fingerprints: no Holsteins have the same markings. Holsteins are the most common dairy cow because they tend to produce more milk than all the other breeds. 2. Jerseys Jersey cows, named for the British isle of Jersey where they originated, are most often brown or tawny with a light-colored underbelly and dark hooves. Their milk is the richest of all the dairy cows and high in butterfat, making it the ideal milk for the production of butter and cheese.
3. Guernseys Also known as the Royal Breed because of the golden hue of their milk. The golden tone is due to an exceptionally high content of beta carotene, a source of Vitamin A. Guernseys themselves are also a golden color and can have white markings. As their name suggests, Guernseys were originally bred on the British Channel Island of Guernsey. 4. Ayrshires Ayrshires (pronounced air-sheer): Ayrshires are reddish-brown with many spots.
They were first bred in the Scottish County of Ayr and arrived in America in 1822. 5. Brown Swiss This breed native to Switzerland (if you needed us to spell it out) is one of the oldest in existence. Their color varies from light-to-dark brown and sometimes gray, but they are easily recognized by their large furry ears. Brown Swiss have a very gentle nature. 6. Milking Shorthorns Once known as Durhams, these cows were imported from Northeastern England.
Washington’s dairy farming tradition actually began in 1836 when Dr. Marcus Whitman brought 16 Durham cows to serve the mission he established in Walla Walla. Milking shorthorns can be red, red with white marking, white or roan. 7. Dutch Belted A Dutch belted cow may be the easiest dairy cow to identify because of the wide “belt” of white around its middle section. It is estimated that there are less than 300 Dutch Belted cattle in the United States.
Each breed is a different size, shape and color; but now that you’ve met our dairy cow family, you should be able to tell them apart when you see them grazing in a nearby field.