Help needed to milk my house cow!

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10 years 7 months ago #36236 by Doublecream
Hi,

I have a two year old Frescian cow who had a calf 4 weeks ago. The cow has been halter trained and is friendly and in good condition. My son has built a milking stand and I put her in the stand and give her silage and dairy ration. She is good tempered and co-operative but kicks with her back leg when I try to milk her and will only let me handle her front teats. She does not have mastitis. I have tried tying her back leg but she pulls it loose and still kicks. I have tried a Kick stop and it scared her and she still got her back leg loose. I am really nervous about being kicked. Please can anyone assist with what I need to do to milk this cow. I am happy to travel around Auckland to view anyone milking and will post photos of my situation if that helps.

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10 years 7 months ago #473222 by Stikkibeek
Where in the Auckland area are you? If you are handy, I might be able to help. but I do work, so can't travel too far.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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10 years 7 months ago #473225 by katieb
are you milking her from the side or back?...if the side, milk her from the back while talking to her...start by scratching her back near tail & work you way down carefully

can you rub her back quarters without getting kicked?

photo of milking stand would be great

a cow needs to arch its back in order to kick so a rope tied firmly from side to side above the middle of her back should help

ahh just looked at original post again....shes a heifer...no wonder....it may take a while, just make sure you are calm & dont have other people or animals(ie dogs, strangers or kids) running around. Shes young(all of this is new to her, make it a happy ecperience & she will soon settle), if shes still feeding the calf get her used to the front quarters being milked without problems, try backs daily for a few mins until she settles

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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10 years 7 months ago #473228 by Doublecream
I'm in Kumeu - will post some photos over the next few days of the milking stand

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10 years 7 months ago #473235 by muri
Double cream, i know a few people in the area, they arent hand milking but very experienced with cattle and have milked in the past.
The one I am thinking of lives in whenuapai and you could go and visit her and talk to her, in her 80s and still raising calves on her own on her cattle but knows every trick in the book.
Pretty sure if you went and picked her up she would come over to your place, shes not that far away
you could pm if you want

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10 years 7 months ago #473244 by igor
Hi Doublecream. Welcome to the fun world of dairy cows. The first rule in handling any animal is "the animal does not win". She must learn that you are the boss, she is a dairy cow, you will handle any part of her that you choose to and she will allow you to do it. I will not pretend that the training process will be easy. It isn't.
If the cow can kick out of the rope then it was not fastened correctly. You need a good stout rope connected to a solid part of the bail. The rope should be tied around the cow's leg with a clove hitch. Do not allow your fingers to get caught in the rope while you are tying it or you may lose them. It is very difficult for a cow to kick while standing on three legs, so if necessary make her stand on three legs by restraining the near side back leg at such an angle that she can move only a little.
I always milk from the side. I was brought up that way. Milking from the rear is a sure fire way to get shat on.
Do seek the advice of muri's elderly friend. I'm sure she could explain things to you in person a lot more easily than any of us could on this discussion forum.
Good luck.

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10 years 7 months ago #473248 by stephclark
hiya.. I am in kumeu as well.. and have had the odd kicker in the past.. photos of your set up will be handy..
with my old grumpy kicker, I had a post that I could tie a leg to.. I didn't like rope on their leg, so would tie a teatowel onto the rope and the tea towel part went around the leg (wrapped ) and then tied off to post..
but yes, she is young and will need to get used to it.. calf still on her?..anyway nice soothing warm bathing of udder and lots of gentle handling around the back end, and she will settle...
I too have a calf raising, cow milking friend in the area who may be able to assist if you like.. let me know

cheers

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10 years 7 months ago #473276 by Muz1
Igor's advise re green stuff from back end sound advise. Watch tail flicking for same reason when milking from side. Heifers need lots of patience. Many older sheds had leather straps rather than rope for leg ties althogh there is some nice soft syntheic rope now available that should be ok.

Everything Must be Somewhere

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10 years 7 months ago #473304 by Doublecream
Hi all,
Photos attached- apologies for the darkness but I try to milk her each day around 7.30pm as I work all day in the city and it is usually darkish.

To answer your questions:

I milk on the cows left side and I usually just try her two front teats. She does not like me touching her back teats although I can rub them gently with a horse whip and she does not kick.Í am scared to milk from the rear incase I am kicked and she is always going to the toilet when I milk her.

She has her calf on her all day and has heaps of milk. The calf is always in sight and usually playing or sitting down watching.
I have a second cow who hangs around and gets food too, but it doesn't appear to upset Florence.

I really have one problem and that is tying her leg. I try to tie her left hand and pull it slightly behind her with a soft rope but she wiggles and gets it down loose and still kicks. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Attached files [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/476178=13151-photo 3.jpg[/img] [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/476178=13152-photo 4.jpg[/img] [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/476178=13153-photo of milk stand.jpg[/img]

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10 years 6 months ago #473306 by Ruth
When she stops "going to the toilet" during milking, you'll know she's a happy cow. They shit when stressed in those situations.

We've just milked ours for the third time, just getting her back in the swing of things, and there's crap everywhere. She goes all ways and it's very messy. When she settles down and is comfortable and not stressed about her calf, the shed remains entirely clean.

Presumably continual handling will eventually stop the kicking. Fortunately we've not had to deal with that.

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10 years 6 months ago #473382 by Stikkibeek
Am I right in thinking that you milk her from the same side as you took the photo? If so, that rail is well in the wrong place for you to be safe. Traditionally a cow bail would have the long rail on the side away from you and her, and there is what is called a "dummy" on the side you milk from. This allows enough of the cow to be in a bail and you put a chain around her rear to stop her backing out. You can set up the interior of the dummy to hold the calf where she can see it. The long rail on her other side usually ends in a strong post to which you attach the leg rope. Someone has already suggested the best kind of leg rope as being leather. This is usually a flat piece of green hide which will remain soft yet strong.
There's some good advice and good pictures on this thread. www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/lsb-forum/showthread.php?t=27705

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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10 years 6 months ago #473712 by andik
I empathise completely! I too have a two year old heifer who calved about 5 weeks ago. I didn't milk her until about 10 days later because I was away. Mona was used to coming into the milking stall, but she's still getting used to it. Initially she was ok about me handling the front quarters, but definitely not the back quarters. She would kick, but not a full-blooded kick, just a "get ye away from there!". She was crapping at least once, sometimes 3 times. I have resisted the urge to tie up her leg as I think that is going to upset her more than just getting used to me handling her udder. I give her some food, and she does get a bit bored when she's finished that and I'm still going (this is the first cow I've ever hand-milked!), and at that point she has an excellent aim for the bucket!
I figure that she is going to need plenty of time to get used to the whole idea of me milking her, and that in that time, she is going to see if she can beat me by giving me a wee kick. Yes, she has got me a little covered in poo, and yes, the odd kick has been a tad painful, but they have not caused me major harm and the main thing is that she hasn't beaten me yet! And that has meant that she now lets down more milk, that she does kick less, and that she rarely poos while I'm milking her.
I figure perseverance is the key. Good luck!

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10 years 6 months ago #473718 by Ruth
Our biggest problem has been settling the cow when her calf has been drafted away from her side, so that she'll be relaxed enough during milking. But then we start milking on the first or second day, to relieve the udder pressure and ensure her production is as good as it can be. If you don't start for more than a week, a cow is much more relaxed about where her calf is.

Did you train your heifers in preparation for their milking job? Presumably they were hand-reared, so they must be quiet. Our cow was cow-reared to six months and we made sure we touched her all over as often as we could, always paying attention to her udder area, so that she became accustomed to that and associated it with the pleasure of a good scratch where she couldn't reach. I suspect we've reaped the benefit of that early work in never being kicked. The occasional bucket has gone flying, presumably as a protest at some discomfort, but it's been a very rare thing.

Can you work with these heifers outside milking time? Groom/brush their rumps and work down to scratch/stroke around the back of the udder where they can't really reach themselves, down into the area between leg and udder, just spending time making them feel happy. See if that helps. My cows often lift a back leg if I'm scratching there, so there's more room - or it may be that reflex where they try to lick wherever they're being scratched.

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10 years 6 months ago #473787 by Doublecream
Update on milking Florance- my son has added on two more rails and enclosed the milking stall more. I have also spent more time just brushing and handling Florance while she is in the stall. I am still really nervous although to be honest the cow is well behaved. Unfortunately she is in a top back paddock this week and I am having difficulty getting her in and to the milking stall before it is dark. [;)]

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10 years 6 months ago #473793 by Ronney
I am sick to the back teeth of effing dial up. I wrote some pointers for you tonight DC, checked that I was still connected before submitting and then it came up that the page couldn't be displayed. I am good at colourful language[}:)]

I'll have another go tomorrow night, too tired to try doing it all again.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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