I just realized today, that I have never posted about my milking experiment.
A couple years ago, I bought some Jersey cows. Since then, I’ve had 3 cows and 2 of them died. The other one was a carrier for a disease called Johnnes disease that could infect our beef herd, so I had to sell her. I’m kind of burned out on dairy cows. However, I love milking and we all LOVE the fresh, raw milk.
My husband, good fellow that he is, has offered me the use of one of his beef cows as a milker. This is Sugar. She was our first ever cow on the farm and she is really a sweetheart. She’s about 8 years old and has never been milked. However, she is a very gentle cow and I’m hoping I can convince her to work with me.
Sugar’s udder is rather pitiful. She’s an excellent milk producer, and weans off heavy calves because of it. My husband believes that we can share her milk with her calf and her calf won’t suffer for it. In fact, her calf had such a hard time keeping up with her milk supply a couple years ago, that Sugar developed mastitis in one quarter. Maybe my milking her will help avoid that again.
Anyway, this afternoon, I put Sugar in the stanchion with a bit of grain. I didn’t close the bars around her head; I just wanted to get her used to the idea. She did great. It looks like the stanchion will need a little modification, since she’s much bigger than my Jerseys were but it felt so good for me to be back in the milking stanchion with a cow.
Sugar won’t be calving until late September or October, but until then, I will continue getting her used to the idea of being milked and to being handled.
Wish me luck!