Milking the Cow: Day 2

Straining the milk

Day 2 – Aug. 15, 2013

I’m 30 minutes late milking this morning, and Gerty is bellowing again.

We commence with yesterday’s process: she rushes through the barely-opened gate into the stall and begins devouring her morning snack. I wash her udders and only receive one half-hearted kick on the arm.

I begin realizing that Gerty doesn’t like it when I just go right in and grab an udder. Rather, if I begin patting and pressing on her side, then her flank, and then move to the udder, it’s less surprising for her and she doesn’t kick me. This discovery pleases me greatly.

Today, I have a plastic cup into which I milk, and I dump it occasionally into the bucket. It’s not as heavy as the bucket I was holding yesterday. Overall, the method seems to work fairly well, though it obviously ties up one of my hands, so doubling the time it takes to milk. But at least I actually get to take milk inside, rather than her kicking a bucket over and ruining everything.

I realize that I not only failed to address any of yesterday’s problems, but that I have two more problems to add to the list:

-Gerty’s calf, Sassafras (and yes, we call her Sassy), can put her head between the slats on the milking stall, and she manages to grab hold of a teat. So she’s suckling and frothing the teat next to the one I’m milking, draining milk five times faster than I am. There’s no way I can push her away. Kate eventually chases her off, while I make a mental note to add another slat to the stall. There’s calf slobber all over the udders, and I have to rewash them.

-I’ve GOT to get a milking stool. Bending over and squatting just won’t cut it.

This morning, I receive only a handful of kicks—less than ten—and I count my blessings. None of them are aimed directly at me—they’re more of the gentler, under-body kind of kicks. But Gerty is noticeably more restless. I persevere, refusing to let her bully her way out of the milking session. She eventually calms down, and I manage to strip out two udders completely, and I discover that the other two have been basically drained already by the calf.

We end up with just over a half-gallon this morning. Slight improvement; let’s hope it keeps trending that way. I think as I get better at milking and after I fix the aforementioned issues, we might actually reach a gallon a day soon.

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7 Responses to Milking the Cow: Day 2

  1. Kaitlyn says:

    Love your writing style! Considered writing a book about the adventures on the farm?

  2. James says:

    hey the kids tell me, in their wisdom gained from farm camp, that you should tie one of her back legs to the stall in some sort of a manner and then she won’t kick with her other leg or else she’ll fall over and will just let you milk. I’ll send ’em down to give you an earful!

  3. cowcrzy says:

    If you are able to find a way to do it holding their tail up over their back keeps them from kicking too…Usually it takes two people but maybe you could find a way to tie it that way…

  4. James says:

    CORRECTION! The kids clarified that they would tie up one of the goat’s back legs to the wall as the leg is bent and then it would just stand still as they milked it. Now I don’t know if you can bend and then tie up a cow’s back leg, but it makes sense that they wouldn’t kick while standing on just 1 hind leg.

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