One of the local ranchers had a bum calf, and picked up a milk cow to help with the feeding. Her name is Elsie. She was pretty close to drying off when he got her, so in addition to having the calf on her, he is making sure she is milked out daily to make sure her production stays up. Some how I was thrown/volunteered into learning how to milk! And that is pretty awesome!
|Bum Calf??? Who wouldn't love that face?|
About 2/3rds of the people I know with cows are city folk turned farmers that are super sterile about milking and procedures. Now the last third have taught me the other way - "Good Nuff" style! These are old farmers or ranchers that have been milking this way since they were children and since their parents were children and since THEIR parents were children. And it has always been good enough! Just brush the mud of the teat and go. (Okay, disclaimer. When I have my own cow, I will probably handle things a bit differently. But I am not one to look a gift cow in the mouth, or to poo-poo their good-nuff approach. Just as I tend to shy away from most of the good-nuff canning methods, I will most likely make slightly different milking choices, somewhere between the current scientifically accepted norm and good-nuff. End disclaimer)
|My first <3|
As for the actual milking, the first day was difficult - mostly the bending over portion! You should have seen these old ranchers laugh at me when I stopped milking, stood up and unbuttoned my pants! A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. After milking my hands and arms didn't hurt too bad, it was my back that was killing me. On the second day, I was pretty much on my own!! Nothing like being thrown into the fire! So far I've gotten to milk for 4 days. I am noticing that the milking is inflaming my old back/shoulder/arm injury, but this is good to know. Should probably go to the doctor about that soon, instead of just bucking up.
I'm not sure how long I'll have a chance to keep milking her, but every minute counts! This is the best experience ever. It's like having livestock on a trial basis before you have to commit to it! And I'll tell you what, I like it. Livestock is always a huge commitment, and the larger the animal, the larger the commitment. But once we have the infrastructure, I am sure that a little milk cow will be a great addition to the farm... click here for a couple extra thoughts!