Milking Day


This may seem strange–and it may, indeed, even be strange–but this is what is working for me. Today was my milking day. I milked Beulah Petunia this morning and this evening. After the evening milking, I took her to the goat yard. “Took her” is a bit strong since she takes herself. I open the gate from Beulah Petunia-land and she heads for the goat yard gate like a heat-seeking missile.

Glory Bee is always there waiting for her. Mooing.

I let BP into the goat yard and Glory Bee falls upon her udder like a starving child who has been wandering in the desert rather than a calf who has been inhaling hay and feed with the goats and donkeys all day. BP will spend the night in the goat yard with her baby, and a good part of the day tomorrow. This is Glory Bee’s milking time. In the evening tomorrow, I’ll take BP out, promising her food and a lottery ticket, and she’ll spend the night in BP-land, away from baby, filling up her udder so I can have my milking day.

We do this routine over and over, trading off milking days. They seem to have adjusted to the routine, and tolerate their separation with moos and bellows that only increase close to the evening of their every-other-day reunion. They know when the reunion is drawing nigh and they are eager for it. They have set their internal clocks to the schedule.

For Glory Bee, it keeps her with her mommy at least some of the time, and keeps her in mommy milk. It keeps me in milk, too, but not too much milk! I have a day off between milking days when I catch up and make cheese. I don’t have to deal with milk overload, and I enjoy seeing mommy and baby together. I get all the milk I want on my day, and Glory Bee gets all the milk she wants on her day.

It’s a weird little system, but it’s the best one I’ve come up with yet. It’s working. And I have milk and cream and butter and cheese!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 8, 2011  

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21 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-8

    Knowing absolutely nothing about caring for cows, what is considered “not much milk?” How much do they usually produce versus what you get now?

  2. 1-8

    :moo: Whatever works for all concerned is the answer….and if this system works for you and BP & GB…go for it! That is what I’d do….work it out to suit all and it appears you three have.

    Mrs. Turkey

  3. 1-8

    Heather, I take a couple gallons on my day. Glory Bee probably gets more on her day because she’s a better milker than I am. BP is probably making 3-4 gallons a day.

  4. 1-8

    I think you have figured it out perfectly! :cowsleep:

  5. 1-8

    As long as the 3 of you (and all the goats) are happy, that’s what counts! :) :sheepjump:

  6. 1-8

    I have a first-calf heifer due to calve in February and have never had a routine like this before – I think I am going to give it a whirl! I think Morna (Gaelic for ‘Beloved’) and me, would love such a one.

  7. 1-8

    Gem, I’m not sure about this for a younger calf. Glory Bee is four months, so she’s older, eating hay and feed now, so she can take a day away from mama.

  8. 1-8

    That sounds like the perfect situation for all involved. I’m going to have to remember your routine once I get a milking cow here. Right now, I have dairy goats to milk. I milk once a day, removing the kids at night and after I milk in the morning, mamas and kids are reunited for the day. I prefer my kids be dam raised if at all possible. I also love only having to milk once a day. That way I’m not drowning in milk either.

  9. 1-8

    Yes! An excellent point to make for those who may be just starting out. It is an ideal arrangement for later in lactation, when the calf is fully on feed and water. (Oh happy day, not drowning in milk….Thanks Suzanne!)

  10. 1-8

    I dont have a cow yet and have never had one, so I have no experience…. but, the plan where you get a day off every other day sounds wonderful!!

  11. 1-8

    I’ve been wondering where you’re keeping all this cheese you’ve been making. I know some cheese freezes well. When you wax them, does that make them stay good longer in a celler or someplace dark and cool like that?

  12. 1-8

    Anita, the cheese goes into a cheese cave (old fridge) to age. The cheese cave is set around 50 degrees.

  13. 1-8

    Glory Bee is just so darn cute! :moo: :moo: :moo: :moo:

  14. 1-8

    I’m so glad you figured out a system that works for all three of you. It’s nice that you don’t have to do all the milking now, too.

    Okay, dumb question from someone who’s never lived where it gets really cold: do you have to adjust your “cheese cave” setting to keep it getting too cold in winter? Does the day & night variation make a difference?

  15. 1-9

    Looks like it is working for Glory Bee. She is so cute.Those Eyes!!!

  16. 1-9

    I love this idea, best of both worlds!

  17. 1-9

    I have a (non-milker’s) question. For those of you separating the moms and kids or calves, why do you separate at night? I would think the little ones would need mom’s protection at night and then could be on their own during the day, when hopefully, a people person is around to keep an eye on them. Suzanne, I realize your situation is a little different.

    Also, when is a female “whatever” old enough to fully wean and old enough to breed?

  18. 1-9

    Susanne, sounds like you have worked out a beautiful plan. If we would leave Willow in with her two huge babies or vice versa, we would have a real time separating them for my milking. She chooses them over me always.

    lavenderblue, I will answer too. A calf can be weaned from milk or milk replacer anytime it is eating at least 2 lbs of high protein calf starter grain, around 6 to 8 weeks. You can also let them nurse until the Mama needs her two month old rest before calving again when no one milks her! Heifers can be bred, depending on the breed around 15 months old. The goal is to calve them the first time at 2 years. When it is just a family milk cow situation, these times can be varied to suit the owners needs.

    Suzanne, may have some different ideas on this, but this is just a general policy we used when we had the dairy.

  19. 1-10

    Suzanne! I just about forgot to tell you: I saw your website listed in the “Hobby Farm Home” magazine today!

    They had an article about making cheese and they listed your site along with some others about where to check out how to make your own cheese press. Did you know it was in there? It just came in the mail on Friday.

    They also have some kind of cake contest going on….no money, but the winning recipe published in their magazine.

    Anywho, I can get you more info if you want….. :happyflower:

  20. 1-10

    Joy, no, I didn’t know that! I get Hobby Farm magazine but not Hobby Farm Home. I’d never heard of that one!

  21. 1-11

    Sounds like an excellent compromise for both parties.

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