Hey, you guys! I thought that it would be fun to write up a tutorial on how to milk a cow, since we have one and I’ve never gone into detail before! The other day my Granddaddy was gone and I was supervising my cousins milk so I decided to bring along my camera and take pictures. I got the idea to make a tutorial out of it, so I hope you all enjoy (and learn something)!
If you ever get a cow, now you know where to go. 😉
STEP ONE: Prepare the food. We give our cow(s) a mixture of Chaffhaye (a fermented alfalfa), grain, and essential minerals for her production and health.
STEP TWO: Gather the milking supplies. We keep the milking supplies in the barn kitchen in buckets so they’ll stay clean after we wash them. There are a few parts to put together and lids to go on the stainless steel cans. Also, we get a bucket of warm water for washing the cow. We have water in the cow barn, but it isn’t warm.
STEP THREE: Load up Huntley with the buckets of supplies and drive over to the cow barn!
STEP FIVE: Put together the rest of the supplies and get the food ready. The milking machine stays in a tote in the barn and so we have to connect it to the other parts, pour some apple cider vinegar and natural soap in the water, put in the cloths, and put a third of the food in the feeder. (We only put in a third because otherwise she’d gobble it up before we finished milking and start stamping around.)
STEP SIX: Call the cow. Maribelle will come trotting if she isn’t already outside the barn gate, especially if you clap your hands and yell, “Maribelle, come!” If she’s really busy and doesn’t want to come, show her a bucket.
STEP SEVEN: Lock her in the headgate and tie her legs and tail.
STEP EIGHT: Clean the cow. We use large microfiber rags, soaked in the warm apple-cider-vinegar-soap water to clean up Maribelle’s udder. THIS IS A NECESSARY STEP.
STEP NINE: Dry her and toss the rag in the dirty rag bucket.
STEP TEN: Apply the lubricant (ours is a mixture of organic olive oil plus tea tree and lavender essential oils) and strip her teats a few times. The lubricant makes the milking much faster and more comfortable for her, and stripping her gets rid of any bacteria in the teat canal.
STEP ELEVEN: Put on the milking machine! Our milking machine is a small contraption made for homestead farmers, and it’s a bit different than most commercial milkers. The commercial ones have tubes that go on the cow and suck all the milk into a bulk tank. This, however, has tubes that fasten on quart bottles. It’s a bit easier and definitely less clunky to manage.
STEP TWELVE: This is why we milk with two people – pour the milk from the bottles into the stainless steel cans.
STEP THIRTEEN: Once you’ve finished milking with the bottles and nothing more is coming out, strip Maribelle again by hand. Machines don’t do a very good job getting every last bit of milk out, so we have to finish by hand. If we don’t do this, the milk will stay in there and she’ll be much more subject to mastitis, which can destroy part of her udder.
STEP FOURTEEN: Let her back out! Most of the time if you stand in the right place, she’ll just turn around and go back outside, but if you don’t, she’ll go right for the hay in the barn. Which involves my standing and gesturing to my cousin, “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?” (Side note: We figured it out.)
STEP FIFTEEN: Take the milk and supplies back to the barn, wash the supplies and filter the milk. Afterwards, store it in a cold place so it can cool down as quickly as possible. The faster milk cools down, the longer it will last.
And that is the end, folks! Do you feel adequately prepared to milk a cow now?