Friday, May 11, 2018
The Creation of a Milk Cow
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
I have had it with writing this blog for all of the tight wad ingrates, and today I am writing it for me, in what I decided is necessary and fun, and the subject is how to create a milk cow.
Some of you have mentioned that you want to have a Jersey cow, which is a very good place to start, as Jersey's are very intelligent, get into loads of trouble and then look at you like the neighbor's cat did it all.
This though is the story of Hannah.
Hannah was born in the snow about 2 years ago. Hen was her mum, and Hen is a pet of mine. TL named the calf and being sentimental I kept the wee little thing, who honestly is smaller then Baby Belle who is a miniature Jersey.
I was frowning at Hannah a month ago as she was getting close and winter was not going away, and on the day that another heifer had her calf which we saved, I noticed Hannah had a back leg sticking out from the calf which all said and done in complications, the calf ended up in the house, and I had to start milking a wild little heifer.
Hence this is the story of a milk cow in the making as most of you are clueless on cows, and some of these million dollar tips will save you a load of frustration.
To milk a cow, you are going to need a stanchion. It is best that you go out and purchase some heifer calf and raise it, or perhaps some burned out old cow from a dairy, but burned out cows do not last the longest.
Most cattle now are bred to have small short tits which are a nightmare to milk. So pay attention to the udder, or you will be doing what I am doing with Hannah which I will explain.
As stated it is best to train a calf to lead and go into a stanchion, and to touch their udder, expecting to get kicked, but get them familiar with what you are doing under there, as an udder with milk in it, is sore, and cows kick as it is their nature.
All Creatures Great and Small though had a solution to cows that kicked, in what you do is place a lariat around their back ankle on the side you are going to milk and tie the leg back, so they can not get a full wallop at you.
You have to be careful in this, as you do not want the cow falling over on you, or the leg so far back you dislocate it. In Hannah's case I just let her stand on the foot, as she has never kicked. Most case you can yell at a cow if they start doing that and hit them once, and they usually will stop. Again, start with a calf and teach it, instead of a wild little heifer.
So you tie the leg back or handcuff it. The key is not to get things started as things not learned do not have to be disciplined.
It is easier in most cases if the calf is there nosing around in starting this, which is an added chore, but this helps in the long run, but it was not a luxury I had with Hannah as the calf was not able to stand or be there.
In fact, the first milking I did the cow was laying down as I pulled the calf and she was spent, so I milked her into a bottle, as the collustrum the cow produces must be taken in by the calf within 24 hours or the calf will not survive. There are necessary biologicals in that milk, so that yellow orange sticky goo is important, and if you have extra, you freeze it in plastic bags for future use.
A cow's udder has in most cases the tits are plugged, which is a problem in a sore bag, not getting kicked as you are putting pressure on the tit to blow that plug out and start milk coming out.
I am not going to get into how to milk, other than there are two ways in stripping or squeezing. Stripping is what you have to do in starting a milk flow. Some cows milk easy, some are like a plugged waterbottle with an elephant standing on it. This is why the ranchers in the American west would rather you ran off with their wife than a prize milk cow. You will understand this when you get a cow or figure out what is an easy milker, what is a good cow, and what is the best tit size for milking.
For Hannah her back tits were about an inch long an the front were maybe two inches. In starting out the best I could do was squirt milk into my hand in squeeze milking on the front tits, and the back was just squeezing out milk between my finger and thumb. As I have been working on Hannah for a week now, I have all the tits open, milking pretty good, and I have been able by pulling on the tits to extend them enough on the front set to squeeze milk them and the back is sort of strip milking them out as they are not extended enough and may never be.
It is not that I want to turn this little cow into a milker, but it is a reality that what you start out with should be something which you do not need to work on so hard, as most of you have zero experience in this, and what happens when your 1500 dollar electric milker does not work with an EMP?
One of the things I do with Hannah is I feed oats as a treat to get her to put her head into the stanchion. While she is busy and distracted in that ration, I milk the back tits out as those were the ones she was not enthused with the most first, so I get them out and she after a week is standing pretty still while I milk.
Another million dollar tip is NEVER stand behind a cow or you will learn a lesson in dying or ending up in the hospital. Some cows have a wicked kick and can kick further than you think a cow leg can fly behind them. The reason that matters is in tying up the leg which is why you keep a wire and your hand away, and when you tie the tail up, as you will find cows like batting shit and piss into your face from their afterbirth tails, so use a twine string and tie the tail so it is not swatting you.
I always talk soothing to the cow in telling her she is a good girl. When they start moving around, I always scold a little and they can tell by the inflection in my voice to behave. If they are not raising holy hell in kicking and trying to break out of the stanchion, I do not pop them with a cane as the idea is to reinforce the calm.
You should not in a pet calf ever have anything wild like off the range, so the real adventures do not need to be experienced.
I find that I count the number of pulls on a tit. It helps me keep track and makes me think I am accomplishing something as when you start this, your hand, shoulder and legs will scream fatigue.
I keep my bucket close to the cow so I do not get cow kicked, and I keep out of the cow kick range. In most cases, you will just get a hard bump, or lose the milk which will really please you. In starting out, I kneel on some hay as you do not want to sit next to a cow if they fall over, decide to swing their body toward you as they dance around, or if they just decide to kick.
Hannah was not really wild. She was just not used to me like most herd animals are. From milking I smell like her now an she lets me pet her head and she sniffs me too. As I stated she is a character in liking to buck kick at me in playing. She behaves well in the milking though. You should know that when you milk, it pulls on the womb, as it does women to get it back into place, and that gets them tense. It though is a pleasurable experience for the cows and they like being milked.
Here is a reality in this. You do no want some Holstein cow producing gallons of milk. Stop being chicken egg crazy in thinking you are cheated if you are not flowing an ocean of milk. The fact is that most of you would be pleased if you got a half gallon of milk twice a week, so cattle that do not milk gallons are what you are looking for.
The Shorthorn which is what Hannah has in her is a rich milking cow in butterfat. The Jersey, Gurnsey and Ayershires are richer in cream, but if you look around, you should be able to get a cow that is not going on monsoon you on milk.
You could always do a Hereford or Angus too, as most of you do not have a dozen kids to feed.
This is the thing you do, is you have your calf suck most of the milk, most of the week. It may be that you may have to get another calf from a dairy (knowing you have to deal with scours and sickness, and the cow getting used to the new calf (they get used to the new calf by the calf drinking the cow's milk, and then the cow thinks it is their calf) as the extra calf will eat the surplus milk which does have to milked from the cow.
Calves start eating browse a little after week, and most dairies wean calves after 6 weeks. The thing is you do not need to do that, as you can have the calf suck for a longer period in saving you from constant milking.
The thing is a cow will milk for almost a year, so you can save on breeding and down time too.
For breeding, what you will probably do is contact your vet. Who should help in obtaining some semen for artificial insemination as you are not going to want to deal with a bull. It will all work out, but you should stick with like breed, as you do not want big cross breed calves, and there are producers which carry semen.
What the vet will do is give your heifer or cow a shot which will make her cycle on a specific time and day. The vet will then appear and with a straw filled with semen, inseminate your cow. If she sticks, 9 months you will have a calf and then the milking begins.
All cows have different attitudes. I have one raised from 4 H who will kick me when I try to milk her, and the calf must be there. She is spoiled as I had to tie her up several times as she was kicking at the calf as her bag was sore and I had to get things going for several days. You will soon though learn in cattle when you get that good milk cow as you will trade your spouse before you got rid of that cow. Do not overlook some of the miniatures either as you are not going to start a dairy and they might work for you. Just remember a heifer does not produce a great deal of milk. Cows do not go into real full production until the 3rd or 4th year, and their udders continue to develop for a number of years.
I am still waiting on our land to breed Daisy and Baby Belle, but Hannah is the current project. She gives in one milking about a quart and a half, which the calf gets about half now. When she matures, I suspect she will give a gallon which is a great deal of milk to contend with, and as stated she is a little girl as I doubt she goes past 600 pounds at this point.
That though is how to make a milk cow. They are works of creation and not made. It is something I enjoy in hand milking. I enjoy having the calf on the other side sucking as I am dealing with my share that morning. Both the cow and the calf get used to the calf being penned at night, the cow being let in to milk, turned back out to feed, and brought in to be milked in the afternoon again. It is a different life of cycles in the way the world used to be.
Cows can be pets and are like big dogs when they get used to you and you get them used to you.
Oh and if you are an SOB your cattle will reflect you. Is the problem with my playful personality that the cattle like playing with me and that is not the best as Daisy bunted me in the butt the other day which hurt like hell.
All in a milk cow in the making