some house cow questions

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12 years 6 months ago #29672 by scottie
Hi, after months of planning and bail building and training and waiting, I am finally at the "milking". And now that it's not just theoretical I have some specific questions to ask.

I am milking a dexter heifer (so it's all new to both of us) and sharing the milk with the calf. He gets put away at night and I milk in the morning. The calf is three and a half weeks old and I have been milking for about 10 days, but am still getting the hang of it.

The cow has quite small teats so I am using the stripping method (is that ok)and getting faster gradually, but it is still taking about half an hour to get 2 litres.

This morning I emptied out two quarters fully and left the remaining two for the calf. I would like to take more than this if I can speed it up a bit. I am assuming I need to leave one quarter for the calfs breakfast??? What would happen if I emptied all 4 quarters? Would that be taking too much?

If I leave him a quarter should it be a different one each day? Or could I always leave him the one I find more difficult to milk (the one with an extra hole half way up)

Do I need to sterilise the milking bucket (stainless) or is a good hot soap and water enough?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

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12 years 6 months ago #402127 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic some house cow questions
An extra hole in the teat? What a nuisance!

Soap/detergent & water are fine.

Strip milking is ok, our cow gets a mix of the two methods, maybe use salve if things get a bit dry.

Calf should get enough during the day even if you milk her right out! Especially if you're only taking a couple of litres. How much will she give you?

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12 years 6 months ago #402128 by igor
Replied by igor on topic some house cow questions
I am in the habit of milking all four quarters out completely every day. If you don't there is a risk of mastitis developing. They soon fill up again.
I hand milked all last season, weaning the calf at nine and a half weeks, and the most I got at any one time was two gallons (this was the cow's first season). It was taking up to an hour to milk. This season I have a machine. This year's calf is now five weeks old and still running with the cow all the time. I have been getting a little over two gallons per day milking once a day in the evening. Production is dropping a little now as the calf grows bigger and drinks more. Soon I will need to start seperating him from the cow through the day. My cow is a Jersey. I have read that Dexters generally give less milk than a good Jersey, indeed one author related his experience of a Dexter cow that gave less than a good goat, but don't let that put you off if you like Dexters. Expect your cow to produce more in her second and subsequent seasons.
I rinse the milking machine and it's bucket with hot water each day after milking and hot wash with either dish detergent or washing soda about once a week or when it looks like it needs it. If I had more than one cow I would be more particular about cleanliness to reduce the risk of cross infection between cows.
How does your cow come to have an extra hole in one of her teats?

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12 years 6 months ago #402148 by scottie
Replied by scottie on topic some house cow questions
I think the extra hole is actually a fifth teat that has not quite formed. there is definitely a lump near the top of the fourth teat that feels like the end of another one. A vet friend was not suprised at all when I told her and said that they are often bigger than that and chopped off early. It's not really a problem, I just have to use a certain hand position so it doesn't get in the way, and the hole is not as big as the one in the end of the proper teat.

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12 years 6 months ago #402149 by scottie
Replied by scottie on topic some house cow questions
oh and I've read that dexters can give 8-10 litres per day. At this stage I am hoping for about 4 litres. And some might say I'd be better off with a goat, but I don't like goats' milk.

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12 years 6 months ago #402161 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic some house cow questions
I see that I was wise to design and build my own housecow! We chose teat length, milking speed, udder shape ... :D

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12 years 6 months ago #402195 by Iniuk
Replied by Iniuk on topic some house cow questions
When I did the cow thing, like Igor, I used to let the calf run with the cow and milk the cow out twice a day. (I like milking house cows. Always have, took it over when i married a farm worker.) After a bit I would separate him at night, and got much more in the morning milking.
Now I have goats. The better the nutrition the better their milk tastes. There is really too much milk between 4 and 5 litres daily more thana year after they kidded. AND I can fit 3 goats in the back of my little car. Can't do that even with Dexters.

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12 years 6 months ago #402221 by igor
Replied by igor on topic some house cow questions
Another thing that makes goats easier than cows is that you can clean up their poo with a rake.
I milk the cow in the evening because it fits better with my fulltime job than morning milking. I milked twice a day for a few weeks at the beginning of last season but found that it was too much of a rush to get to work on time.

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12 years 6 months ago #402319 by edster951
Replied by edster951 on topic some house cow questions
At the start I was like you scottie.....you could have almost been writing about me.

This is my second year milking my housecow. I can milk out 12-18 litres, feed the calves and lambs in just under 30 minutes.

At the start of the season, or the first 4 months I milked twice a day, getting the 12-16 litres each milking. Now I have cut her back to once a day as I runnung out of grass and had too much milk. Now she quite happily gets milked once a day in the morning, still getting 12-16 litres.

Her milk is then given to calves that I rear to 12 weeks of age and pass on. When the calves are fed once a day after 5-6 weeks I get the next batch of calves. We get three at a time. Helps "fund" the next seasons hay/baleage/calves/freezer.

Keep at it. Milking is a great time to relax and have "you" time to wind down. It's always a great pleasure looking back at your cow seeing her stand with her eyes closed chewing her cud while you milk. I thiink it's a privilage they let us milk them, and I treat it as such.

Eddie
Invercargill [8D]
New Zealand

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12 years 6 months ago #402365 by Horsey chick
Hi, In answer to your other question, I don't see why you couldn't leave the extra holed teat for the calf to feed out of, if you've emptied the other 3 then I'm sure calfy will empty the difficult one. Yes it is a very common thing for a cow to have a teat like that, when I chose our housecows (as 4 day old calves) I checked their teats to look uniform and to only have 4.
We also have 2 housecows (one is at the farm visiting the bull ATM) and I lock the calves in a pen at around 9am, milk after the school bus run and let the calves finish her off. I only take about 2-2.5 litres as thats what we go through, it always stays fresh then and our cows have 2 calves on them each, so the calves need the rest anyway.

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