Millie the Milker

I realized that I haven’t posted much about Millie.

Millie is my Brown Swiss Jersey Cross milking cow. My husband bought her for me for my birthday back in September.

Yeah, you heard that right. I got a cow for my birthday. And I couldn’t be more pleased.

I love milking cows. Most of the time anyway. My favorite cow’s name was Lady. She was a very sweet cow, almost a pet. She’d come to me for scratches and petting. I had her for a little over a year before she died. She also carried a disease called Johnnes disease, so we would’ve had to get rid of her anyway. But, I was still so sad that I lost Lady.

The cow I had before Lady was Blossom. A Jersey, she was a good milker. She was bossy and determined, but I had her for about three years. By the time she got to prime milk producing years, we learned that she too was Johnnes positive. So, Blossom had to go too. We sold her. I hated to see a good cow go to slaughter, but it couldn’t be helped.

I went about eight months without milking. I missed it. I like handling a cow each day, and I really love the delicious milk. We drink it raw, and it is so tasty! People ask why fresh, raw milk is better, and I really can’t explain it. It’s just good!

Millie is just a two year old, and she’s in her first lactation. That means that she’s still learning what it means to be a good milk cow. She’s pretty headstrong, and I have yet to halter break her. I don’t know that she will ever be as much of a pet as Lady. However, she is not a kicker, she gives good milk, and she’s an excellent mother. Millie also will adopt other calves if needed. One of our farming friends had a beefer that wasn’t giving enough milk for the calf. We brought the calf over here and now she’s nursing on Millie.

I practice what some call “share milking.” In share milking, you allow the mama cow to raise her calf. When you want to milk, you separate the milk cow from the calf for some hours to allow the milk to build up in her udder. Then you milk it out. It’s pretty simple, it’s convenient for me (I don’t have to milk daily, most of the time) and the cows mostly enjoy raising their babies.

The milk she gives is quite rich. Typically, I milk about 2 or 3 mornings a week, getting about a gallon and a half each time. We drink it, and while I don’t always do it, I also make butter and ice cream. We skim the cream off and whip it for dessert toppings. My kids would almost eat Millie’s lightly sweetened whipped cream with a spoon!

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