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IntegritySporthorses
Mar. 10, 2012, 07:45 AM
Here's my latest wild idea.... Tell me I'm crazy and talk me out of this please!

Is it possible to get a nurse cow, let her raise a calf or two a year (not hers, a beef bottle calf for example) and also milk her a bit?

I'd love to have a dairy cow but don't drink enough milk nor do I want to commit to milking a cow daily. So can you let them nurse a calf and also milk them?

Just curious.

Daydream Believer
Mar. 10, 2012, 07:49 AM
My understanding...and I'm NOT any kind of authority of dairy but I had friends that ran one...is that modern dairy cows produce too much milk for a calf to drink. They need to be milked. Now there may be some sort of multipurpose breed that approach might work for but forget trying it with a Holstein.

Cruiser12
Mar. 10, 2012, 08:08 AM
Here's what my mom did when we were kids.

THe bought a Jersey as they are sweet, smaller and easy to handle. THen she bred (AI) to black angus, also a smaller/shorter breed, but a good meat breed.
Then once she calved, she would milk out as much milk as we would drink each day and let the calf nurse out all the rest of the day. I don't think you can milk for the first week or so because the calf needs the colostrum. But the cow will produce plenty of milk for the calf and for family use.
Some people say that a cow wont' let you milk her while she is nursing a calf, but Jersey's are sweet and she did just fine. THen when the calf was a year old or so it was turned into dinner.
If I remember correctly we couldn't milk her a few weeks before calving either. But I'm sure you can Google all of that. There is a great website called www.backyardherds.com that gives great info about back yard farming.
The cows also lived just fine with our horses.
Mom also made butter, all you have to do is let the milk sit for several hours in a LARGE container and the cream will rise to the top. Then get a small hose, like you would use for an aquarium filter, and put the milk on the counter, an equally large container on the floor below, or stool (keep the pets away) and then stick the hose in the milk at the bottom of the container and suck for a second on the hose and then put it in the container below. Then gravity will take over and you can drain the milk. When you get to the cream just stop siphoning.
Then beat the cream with a blender and it will stiffen up, as it stiffens you pour the "butter milk" off of it. You can keep that for baking if you like. Once the butter is quite stiff, remove it from the blender and just take a large spoon and Press the rest of the milk off of it, you can put a little salt in it if you like. You will need to keep it in the fridge overnight as it will go rancid more quickly, but I dont' remember ours ever going rancid, I just remember that it was possible. Anyway that was a long story!
Oh, and a cow won't start to produce milk until it is bred, so you will HAVE to breed it. And many cows won't accept another's calf, but some will. My mom did buy a young calf a few times to nurse with the calf that Elsie had herself so that we had more beef.
My mom worked full time and was raised in Toronto, ON, but she just did this stuff so we would have more natural food.
good luck!

Chestnut Run
Mar. 10, 2012, 08:25 AM
Another enabler, here! :D This is exactly what we plan to do when we get our own farm. (We rent a barn and pasture right now, and are limited to horses only in our lease). I don't know how it would work with calves that she didn't birth, but I do know that lots of people will run the calf with the cow and just milk enough for their own needs. The way I've always heard it works is say you want to milk just once a day in the morning. You milk in the morning, then let the calf run with the cow all day. At night, you separate them, the calf will still need milk replacer at night, so that the cow bags up that you get more than just a couple of cups at a time. I've heard the same thing about don't try this with a Holstein. They've been bred to be milk producing machines! There are tons of "family" breeds out there. Jersey, Scottish Highland, miniature holstein, miniature Jersey, and many others.

Sheila

goodhors
Mar. 10, 2012, 11:44 AM
Milk breeds tend to produce WAY more milk than a single calf can use. This is even if you milk her once a day.

And let me tell you from experience, that there seem to be VERY FEW bottle calves in beef breeds. They don't take them off their moms because calves gain so MUCH BETTER. We found exactly ONE heifer calf, in hunting HARD for a beef calf over 2 months! We bought her but she was already 2 months old and cost $400. Maybe we didn't have the right connections, but NO ONE we talked to would take a beef calf off the cow, didn't have orphans. Beef practices are totally unlike Dairy farmers.

You could probably pick up a couple dairy calves easily from a local farmer, to put on a cow to keep her cleaned out. Or breed her for a calf, then add on a second calf in a couple weeks, so she is feeding two.

You have to be careful that the dairy cow gets ALL THE QUARTERS of her udder milked clean daily. Single calf may or may not do that. I have heard of a calf only liking 1-2 quarters, never nurses from the others which develop severe problems. Little calf just can't drink what dairy cow produces, way too much milk. So any dairy cow is going to need attention more than "now and then" when YOU need a bit of milk. If you don't care for her properly, provide extra calf for instance, you take the chance of ruining her udder, her getting sick.

Not sure if you would want to raise a beef heifer, then just milk her once a day, to share with her calf. Beefers probably produce as well as old-time milk cows did way back. Beef cow would have a smaller udder, but still could give a gallon or more, with once a day milking. You pen up the cow and calf overnight, separated. Then milk her first thing in the AM when she is full, calf can eat all day. I am suggesting a beef heifer, they are pretty available, naturally have a smaller udder so less worries about mastitus or other issues with a constantly overfull udder.

The more you milk the cow, calf or calves empty the udder, the more she will produce. When the demand is on her from you and calves, she will give more milk. She will need PLENTY of nice water, good amount of hay or grass to produce this milk. Grain amount will depend on how good the grass and hay are. Grain will get her into the stanchion for milking, keep her friendly.

If you have not trained a cow to milk, finding one that will stand for hand milking is IMPORTANT. Cull cows from the dairy farm will only be used to equipment, though they can be retrained to hand milking. Sometimes the Amish have cows advertised that will be hand milked. Hand milking is work, with effort to totally strip the udder quarters when you get finished.

You will want to get her TB tested before purchase, to prevent buying a problem for your family. Most States require that annual testing in dairy herds, before milk can be sold to the Co-Op.

And lastly, are you prepared to do the work of milk preparation so it is ready to drink? I STRONGLY suggest you DO NOT just drink the milk from the milk bucket. You can look up what steps are needed to prepare milk before it is "family ready". I do suggest you read up on what benefits are gained by pasturizing the milk. Personally? I WOULD ONLY drink pasturized milk or serve it to my family!! Lots of Raw Milk enthusiasts touting the health benefits, but some of the stuff that is in/can get in to raw milk will kill you! A number of news stories on that very problem, buying and using raw milk recently, kids died. Cooking the milk to needed temps for pasturizing, for length of time needed, is going to remove the chance of problems.

Getting a milk cow of any breed, using her for milk, is not a decision to be taken lightly. You really have to be committed to the whole deal. If you only do what is "convenient" to you, cow will get damaged, your family will probably end up sick. Cows are absolutely run by a clock, want things done in strict routine if possible. So milking at the same time daily, EVERY DAY, feeding at the same times, is IMPORTANT to the cow. She will cooperate if you abide by this. Skip a day or two, she isn't going to be so cooperative. Cows and milking them, processing the milk is a TIME investment thing. Seems like any shortcuts don't work well. Not like having goldfish.

Bluey
Mar. 10, 2012, 12:09 PM
Farm families with kids were the ones that kept a milk cow, because they didn't have a convenient store to go buy milk from.

Those families also had pigs.
Milk cow was milked twice a day, the family used what it needed, then fed any calf/calves and pigs the rest.

The latest out there, my computer died again and is in the shop so can't access the link, reiterates to please, not use raw milk from any sources, too risky to anyone's health.
We grew up milking and had a designated milk boiling pot with an insert with a hole in it.
When we boiled milk it would raise and not boil over but shoot out of the hole and recycle in the pot as it was boiling for some minutes.
Then pasteurization came to be and those illnesses became history.
Lately, Drs are seeing them again.
Guess that some have to learn the hard way.:no:

shakeytails
Mar. 11, 2012, 01:02 PM
No, it's not a good idea. Cows have a hissy fit when not milked on schedule- you have to be committed. Dairy cattle produce way too much milk for one calf. DH(who grew up on a dairy) said with a jersey cow, raising 2 calves on poor forage (less feed=less production), you might get by with it. You'll still have to make sure all 4 quarters are being milked daily. And you'll want a milking machine (http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=17762&cat=0&featured=Y), since milking by hand sucks and the milk isn't "clean". Seriously, it's probably not a good idea.

ETA: I don't have any problems with raw milk, though any I've drank came right out of the bulk tank where it was cooled quickly, and of course everything on a commercial dairy is properly sanitized. It's the best tasting stuff ever! It's probably not the best idea for kids under 2, elderly, or other immuno-compromised folks to drink it, but for your average healthy person, it's fine.

sascha
Mar. 11, 2012, 02:44 PM
Tell me I'm crazy and talk me out of this please!
...
nor do I want to commit to milking a cow daily.

Ok. This is easy. You are crazy! Cowz need to be milked daily, preferably 2 or more times per day. Every day. Weekends included. Days you think you are so sick you can't get out of bed. Days when you just don't want to do it. Days when you are on holiday. Days when you are in the hospital. Milking cannot wait. Ever. Unless you like your cow dead, then you can wait a day or two without milking.

For all that cowz are tough customers, they'll become $ersiously ill at the drop of a hat.

If you're not interested in dairying (and really, why would you want to buy a 7 day week job?) then get yourself a calf or two to raise without the bother of a cow.

Need anything further to talk you out of it? I've got lots more of a graphic nature (foot care nightmares, teats getting ripped to shreds, routine surgeries which will make you think the price of grass raised organic beef is WAY cheaper than raising your own, etc.) I can go on, just let me know!

tikidoc
Mar. 11, 2012, 03:11 PM
You have to commit to at least once a day. Once daily milking can work but you can't just milk when you feel like it. We have a 3/4 mini-Jersey 1/4 Dexter that lost her first calf, so we got a baby Holstein steer from a local dairy for $50. A year later he went in the freezer and we milked the cow once a day. You might want to check out:

Lots of info at http://familycow.proboards.com/index.cgi

Another option (would still require daily milking but less time and effort) would be a milking goat. They are small, easy to handle, easy to milk, and give less milk than a cow. Although the goats' milk you get in the store is pretty gamey (yuck), fresh goats' milk is very sweet and similar in flavor to cows'. We have Nigerian Dwarves and LaManchas. The Nigerians are tiny and produce a lot of very rich milk for their size but they have tiny teats and can be tough to milk unless you have very small hands. LaManchas are very mellow and easy to milk, and are good producers.

Bluey
Mar. 11, 2012, 03:46 PM
Here's my latest wild idea.... Tell me I'm crazy and talk me out of this please!

Is it possible to get a nurse cow, let her raise a calf or two a year (not hers, a beef bottle calf for example) and also milk her a bit?

I'd love to have a dairy cow but don't drink enough milk nor do I want to commit to milking a cow daily. So can you let them nurse a calf and also milk them?

Just curious.

Like you say there, you don't use enough milk now for the chores a milk cow and some critters to eat the extra milk will bring.

A milk cow makes sense in a big family with many others to feed, like farm employees.
Someone that is cooking all day from scratch and has the time to make all those products that are made with milk.

We quit having a milk cow, then had dairy goats, but we were selling the milk to some in town and had to quit that when new regulations would have required we start processing the milk, no more raw milk sales.

S1969
Mar. 11, 2012, 04:47 PM
A milk cow makes sense in a big family with many others to feed, like farm employees.
Someone that is cooking all day from scratch and has the time to make all those products that are made with milk.

Well, I don't know that you have to cook all day from scratch to make it worth having a dairy cow...but I do think you have to choose your breed wisely. We have friends that have miniatures Jerseys or something; maybe Dexters? They chose them specifically because the quantity of milk they produced worked for their family. I do think they make some cheese as well, but generally it's just for their family to eat and drink. I'm also quite positive they milk by hand, so a $1600 milker isn't necessary for everyone. And not very useful if you lose power. ;)

I think they only need to milk 1x a day but of course they have to milk every day as Tikidoc said above. Other friends have chosen to own two Nubian goats instead because of the milk production and they are easy to keep.

OP: It sounds like you might not be ready for a cow if you don't want to milk every day, but you might find another family that is looking for a partner to cover certain milking times in exchange for milk.

billie
Mar. 11, 2012, 06:38 PM
We have been researching a family milk cow too. My understanding is the best thing to do is try and find a cow that is considered a "low producer." That way you don't end up with too much milk or having to milk more than once a day.

There's an entire forum dedicated to the family milk cow:

http://familycow.proboards.com/index.cgi

Right now we're paying for raw milk and love it.

Eventually would like to have our own cow and make butter, kefir, yogurt, cheese, etc.

rustbreeches
Mar. 11, 2012, 07:54 PM
I'm a dairy farmer, and we will occasionaly sell cull cows as family milk cows. They are generally giving less than 45lbs a day. That is still over 5 gallons. You can keep a calf on them, but it is easier not to. Some cows will stay in milk for 300, 400 even 500 days. We generally breed them 2 months after they freshen and always dry them 8 weeks before they are due to calve again. If you can't commit to twice daily milkings to keep her in production, it might not be cost effective to keep a milk cow. Also factor in her feed, hoof care, AI costs for future calves to keep her in milk and a pasteurizer before deciding if buying a milk cow makes financial sense.

Bluey
Mar. 11, 2012, 08:01 PM
Important release from the CDC about raw milk increases in illnesses reported:

http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html

rustbreeches
Mar. 11, 2012, 08:06 PM
Important release from the CDC about raw milk increases in illnesses reported:

http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html

There is a place near us selling raw milk shares. If the public EVER saw the conditions on that farm, they wouldn' touch the stuff. There were 2 children hospitalized for a long time in Boulder because of raw milk, but some people don't want to admit the danger

goodhors
Mar. 11, 2012, 10:15 PM
Well here is a negative news story about raw milk that is close to home for me.

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/03/raw-milk_illness_linked_to_van.html

This is a link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that covers a lot of information on raw milk and the negative sides to using it.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/06/raw-milk-in-michigan-causes-q-fever-outbreak/

didgery
Mar. 11, 2012, 10:24 PM
My neighbors have a Jersey whom I absolutely adore. Handmilking a cow sucks (I own dairy goats and enjoy milking, but my forearms tire after the first gallon) so you'd probably end up needing a milking machine. You would have to milk daily, even with the calf.

You can usually get a free or cheap steer calf from a dairy farmer and raise it on your extra milk, but you would be facing a daily chore. Don't get a milk cow if you don't want a committed milking schedule!

S1969
Mar. 11, 2012, 10:29 PM
I would probably never buy raw milk, but might be comfortable drinking raw milk from my own cow (if I had one). I think it's a little bit dramatic to cite fewer than 100 cases of "alleged" milk-borne illnesses and therefore strike fear into the hearts of anyone who would consider drinking raw milk.

Thousands and thousands of people in our country safely drink raw milk every day, and I can't even imagine the number of people world-wide that safely drink raw milk.

Obviously, the risk factor increases based on the number of cows and humans involved in the final product -- a dairy that sells hundreds of gallons of raw milk a day is much more likely to have an accidental contamination than one backyard cow. Everyone should research this carefully before jumping into it, but the "family cow" scenario is less likely to be problematic because you can control the sanitation of your animal, milk buckets, bottles, etc. and make decisions accordingly.

rustbreeches
Mar. 11, 2012, 10:35 PM
You can usually get a free or cheap steer calf from a dairy farmer and raise it on your extra milk, but you would be facing a daily chore. Don't get a milk cow if you don't want a committed milking schedule!

We are getting $170 for day old bull calves with 1 gallon of colostrum in them. It varies place to place. In CA, a guy we know is getting $2.

wsmoak
Mar. 11, 2012, 10:46 PM
This is an idea I've also tossed around. I would *love* to get my hands on REAL milk instead of the imitation stuff from the grocery store.

I read a couple of blogs where they keep milk cows, the archives may give you some ideas of what it's like:

http://forpeteysake.blogspot.com/2012/01/creme-de-le-creme.html (A half gallon of heavy cream every DAY?!)

Look back in the archives of Suzanne McMinn's blog http://chickensintheroad.com/ for stories about Beulah Petunia (and Glory Bee). She did a whole year of cheese making posts too (I believe that was the motivation for getting a milk cow.)

Personally, I am going to start with dairy goats first, and *maybe* graduate to a cow some time in the future once I have a plan for All That Milk.

MunchingonHay
Mar. 11, 2012, 11:54 PM
At the organic CSA I vend at, there is a lady that sells raw milk and farm fresh eggs. She gets $8.00 !!! a gallon $8.00!! for 2 pints of cream and I will admit to paying her $4.00 for a dozen eggs. I personally do not like cow's milk, I have been lactose intolerant for most of my life and I just don't like the taste, BUT I will suffer for fresh cream!!!

Daydream Believer
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:26 AM
I would probably never buy raw milk, but might be comfortable drinking raw milk from my own cow (if I had one). I think it's a little bit dramatic to cite fewer than 100 cases of "alleged" milk-borne illnesses and therefore strike fear into the hearts of anyone who would consider drinking raw milk.

I agree. I think our nation faces much bigger food related issues than a few farmers selling raw milk to people who can make an informed choice about the risks. Conventionally farmed milk has issues also..genetically modified growth hormones, excessive use of antibiotics, etc......just research it if you wish. Plenty of info out there.


and thousands of people in our country safely drink raw milk every day, and I can't even imagine the number of people world-wide that safely drink raw milk.



I was raised on raw milk my Mother would buy from a local dairy. We never got sick from it.

I know of a local farm selling raw milk shares also in this area and they are milking maybe 10-12 cows a day. They are fastidious on cleanliness and I'd have no problem drinking that milk if I wasn't lactose intolerant! ;)

Daydream Believer
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:29 AM
At the organic CSA I vend at, there is a lady that sells raw milk and farm fresh eggs. She gets $8.00 !!! a gallon $8.00!! for 2 pints of cream and I will admit to paying her $4.00 for a dozen eggs. I personally do not like cow's milk, I have been lactose intolerant for most of my life and I just don't like the taste, BUT I will suffer for fresh cream!!!

You'd pay that much (if not more) for Eggland's Best "cage free" eggs in the grocery store and I'll bet those you got were way fresher and even better tasting if they were from free ranging hens allowed to forage.

SmartAlex
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:51 AM
I haven't read all the responses, but there are studies out there that show how much MORE diesease and crap is in big dairy milk than raw milk dairies before it is pastuerised because they don't have to worry about it.

I am the third generation raised on a dairy farm and we drank raw milk because we knew our cows and trusted not only our own disease management, but our hygeine practices.

Get a milk cow! When my grandfather's herd was sold, I kept four "pets". I was 14 and 15 years old and milking 4 cows by hand every night. My uncle milked mornings. You can do it two ways. Pen the calf for 8-10 hours before a single milking, or keep the calf seperate and turn it on the cow after each milking to finish up. There are plenty of resources out there to talk you through it.

tikidoc
Mar. 12, 2012, 09:06 AM
I do not understand a legal system where raw milk is illegal in many states, yet cigarettes are completely legal.

S1969
Mar. 12, 2012, 09:56 AM
I do not understand a legal system where raw milk is illegal in many states, yet cigarettes are completely legal.

When I took Administrative Law in graduate school, almost all our cases were related to milk distribution. :no::yes: Talk about boring!

I'm sure if raw milk groups had a tobacco lobbyist, things would be different. (Haha..I say this as the wife of a lobbyist who represents one of the big tobacco companies).

Robin@DHH
Mar. 12, 2012, 12:09 PM
I live near Eau Claire, Wisconsin which was once the
heart of American dairying. I am surrounded by dairy
farmers and have learned a bit about their world.
Dairies are paid a premium for milk which has a very
low "somatic cell count", a measure of contamination.
The milk processing creameries do pasteurize, of course,
but they want clean milk and they test each farm's batch
to insure it.

One of my dairy farm neighbors once mentioned to me
that her family always drank raw milk from their cows.
Her position was that if the farm family was not willing
to drink the milk they produced, how could they
ethically sell it for someone else to produce.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 12, 2012, 12:16 PM
I'll second the recommendation for a dairy goat. I have a variety of standard and mini-goats (nigerian crosses) and depending on the milk requirements of your household they give the correct amount. Some gals that I know milk only once per day, but they do have to be consistent. I frequently leave kids on and milk less consistently and my experienced gals don't seem to mind. It's a little much for the inexperienced girls.

We drink the raw milk after having done extensive research into the milk industry, the FDAs and CDC's involvement as well as being able to touch and handle our own dairy goats. We hand milk so can instantly tell if there is anything wrong with the milk or the udder and we also are fanatical about cleanliness of the pails, udders and storage containers.

Try leaving some Ultra-pasteurized milk and some raw milk out on the counter for...a week. Don't drink it, just..watch it.

See what happens...it's really quite fascinating.

I keep thinking I'll get rid of the girls because really, I don't have all that much time, but then the kids and husband all start whining about not being able to have fresh milk and cheese and I cave in....plus, I do like making cheese!

RacetrackReject
Mar. 12, 2012, 03:30 PM
My grandmother had a milk cow when I was growing up and sent raw milk home to use for years. Eventually she sent the whole cow, but that's another story..lol. The milk was good and we drank/used it without issue. Back then I had never heard of anyone getting sick from raw milk.

Now, my neighbor has a milk cow and he can't use all the milk up, so he's taken to bringing me a few gallons a week. I use what I can and haven't had any issues so far.

If you've had raw milk before and like it, I think I would give it a go. Improperly handled meat can make you sick just the same as improperly handled raw milk, but I don't see anyone saying to stay away from meat for that reason alone.

WildBlue
Mar. 12, 2012, 03:36 PM
My dad was trying to tell me what a great idea it'd be to keep the half-dairy heifer and milk her for personal use.

So, from the people who've BTDT, it'd be on the order of 400-ish days straight where someone has to milk at least once, more like twice, a day on set schedule. And, if calves are involved, pen them and unpen them at least once a day and get new to replace the ones who get weaned very couple months. Plus handling, separating, and storing the milk every day, and cleaning all the milking tools and udder each milking. In addition to the normal daily upkeep of a large animal (feed, water, mucking, basic medical).

That sounds like it'd take at least a couple very responsible people to make sure everything gets done properly and on schedule each and every day to avoid the potential pitfalls that range from contaminated equipment to the cow drying up or worse.

Hmmm. Once factoring in what my time is worth, paying someone else 8 bucks a gallon is a steal of a deal.

ThisTooShallPass
Mar. 12, 2012, 03:43 PM
A milk cow takes EXTREME commitment to milking them on time, daily. No excuses.

Milk goats also take the same commitment.

It is a LOT of work. The far, far vast majority of folk would be far better off just buying organic milk & meat. Like 99.99% of people. Are you really cut out to be the .01%?

Tapperjockey
Mar. 12, 2012, 03:56 PM
If you can't/don't want to milk daily, as mentioned above... then I'd pass. You can't just milk a cow 2-3 x a week, and figure on the calf drinking more on the days you don't milk, and less on the days you do milk. It doesn't work like that.

SmartAlex
Mar. 12, 2012, 03:58 PM
A milk cow takes EXTREME commitment to milking them on time, daily. No excuses.

Milk goats also take the same commitment.

It is a LOT of work. The far, far vast majority of folk would be far better off just buying organic milk & meat. Like 99.99% of people. Are you really cut out to be the .01%?

:D I think you have to be born with that kind of day to day commitment. For those of us who grew up on farms, it is a way of life. I don't know if the rest of the world can even grasp it in this day and age.

My grandfather had three vacations in his life.
1. His Honeymoon
2. A one week vacaton about 20 years later to visit his brother in Hawaii.
3. Another 1 week tour for his 40th anniversary after selling his herd.

He milked twice a day every day in between. That is twice a day for 14,593 days with only one break.

Bluey
Mar. 12, 2012, 04:13 PM
I wonder how many that poh-poh raw milk warnings also don't think we should wear a seat belt, most people are never in a car accident, or riding helmets, most won't be jumping anyway.;)

Growing up in the 1940's/50's, everyone knew about boiling milk, it was the sensible thing to do.
Undulant fever and several other diseases were known then already.
No one wanted to take chances, becoming ill could kill you and often did, before we had antibiotics and all other kinds of good medicines.

SmartAlex
Mar. 12, 2012, 04:26 PM
I wonder how many that poh-poh raw milk warnings also don't think we should wear a seat belt, most people are never in a car accident, or riding helmets, most won't be jumping anyway.;)

If you want to do an informal poll ;) I poo-poo the raw milk warnings, but I have grown to be conditioned to wear my seat belt and my helmet every ride, every time.

I don't drink raw milk because
A) despite growing up on a dairy farm, I still don't like the stuff either raw or pasteurised and use very little of it
B) there is no easy supply of it.

I do eat unpasteurised eggs.

S1969
Mar. 12, 2012, 04:29 PM
I wonder how many that poh-poh raw milk warnings also don't think we should wear a seat belt, most people are never in a car accident, or riding helmets, most won't be jumping anyway.;)

Growing up in the 1940's/50's, everyone knew about boiling milk, it was the sensible thing to do.
Undulant fever and several other diseases were known then already.
No one wanted to take chances, becoming ill could kill you and often did, before we had antibiotics and all other kinds of good medicines.

I don't think anyone is "poh poh-ing" raw milk warnings. Or even pooh-poohing them. :winkgrin: Obviously sanitation is a serious consideration if you are going to drink raw milk. But it's not like it's impossible to maintain sanitary conditions in order to drink raw milk, especially in a backyard cow setup.

I have seen a medium scale dairy farm in action - no wonder they have to pasteurize! :eek: Of course it would be virtually impossible to spend the time to ensure that the udders are clean before milking 200 cows.

But one cow...that is not even close to the same thing.

SmartAlex
Mar. 12, 2012, 04:53 PM
I have seen a medium scale dairy farm in action - no wonder they have to pasteurize! :eek: Of course it would be virtually impossible to spend the time to ensure that the udders are clean before milking 200 cows.

My grandfather had a joke (God I hope it was a joke) about the neighboring farmer standing behind the cows visiting when a cow peed in an open bucket of milk. Neighbor's response was "now I'll have to strain it again". :eek: :lol:

I have to say, when I was a kid, there were a lot of small local farmers who, if they kept their milk houses by the same standard as their buildings/vehicles/kitchen/self, I would NOT have drank their milk straight out of the bulk tank.

But when I milked, I actually milked into the mouth of a glass gallon jar (what's that? about 1.25" in diameter) to keep the hair etc out of the pail, then strained it. Our cows were healthy, and vaccinated, the milk was clean.

S1969
Mar. 12, 2012, 05:22 PM
Well, at least they strained it once. ;)

Our family friends had a small dairy farm, and milking was a father/son job. The son would use one bucket of iodine solution to clean the udders for all the cows. Basically he stooped, swiped, next cow...stoop, swipe...next cow. That was all. :no: Obviously it must have been good enough because they always sold their milk....but I definitely wouldn't drink it raw.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 12, 2012, 05:28 PM
Our goats are vaccinated and kept clean on clean straw bedding. We routinely check for any signs of mastitis and segregate that goat immediately. Luckily, we've only had one goat get it just after birth (she's a ridiculously precocious milker and can't always be stripped properly).

We wash udders and hands well before milking.

The first sprays go into a strip cup that tests the quality of the milk.

We then milk into a stainless pail that has a filter over top of it (to strain anything before it even hits the milk) that has been sterilized itself and is chilled immediately (we use sterilized cold-packs IN the milk). The milk is then taken immediately to the house, restrained into sterile glass jars and refrigerated.

Your pasteurized milk is not treated remotely like that. It's boiled afterwards to get rid of nasties from unclean conditions.

I wear my seat belt every time. I wear my helmet, too. I'm well aware of what is in my food - probably moreso than most in this country. I grow most of what I can. I know my farmers who supply my meat (other than what I grow at home).

And I drink the raw dairy from my goats and make delicious cheese with it.

Your claims are spurious. There have been more issues related to food poisoning with bagged spinach than there have been raw milk.

Can't wait until the girls all give birth again!

shakeytails
Mar. 12, 2012, 06:17 PM
Undulant fever= Bang's Disease= Brucellosis. Brucellosis is a yearly test for commercial herds. It's also a calfhood vaccine. A positive diagnosis is a generally a death penalty for the cow, often the whole herd is destroyed as it's easier to start over than work through it. I'm not certain, but I think all 50 states are considered Brucellosis-free.

galadole
Mar. 12, 2012, 06:29 PM
I love these kinds of threads! I actually own my own Jersey Milk cow, and I milk her daily. Jersey's have a HIGH percentage of butter fat, and her milk and cream are delicious. I have owned her for about 4 years, and I would never buy from the store again. My whole family drinks "raw" milk, and we have never been sick. Infact, I attribute raw milk to boosting my families immune system. We are never sick. (knock on wood.) I make butter, whipped cream, ice-cream, and cheese. I sell my raw milk for $6.00 per gallon. My cow gives 4 gallons of milk per day. She's very sweet, and much smarter than one might think a cow to be. It's a lot of work, but I'm a farm-girl and love it. We also sell organic free-range eggs for $5 per/doz. You would never believe the difference in the taste, and color of the yolk of the free-range eggs compared to the store-bought. As you can tell, I'm a farm nut! Nothing like knowing where your food comes from.

tikidoc
Mar. 12, 2012, 06:32 PM
I'm with you, OGP. We process ours similarly. The taste is far, far better than anything in the store. And goat milk makes a fantastic, creamy ice "cream". We have one doe who should kid in the next week, and I can't wait to have fresh milk again.

As an aside, there have been no deaths as a result of consumption of raw milk in the US in over 11 years. Less than 1% of cases of food poisoning in the US are attributed to dairy (raw or pasteurized).

For some perspective, in that same 11 years, there have been about 4,873,000 deaths in the US due to cigarettes.

To the OP, I would consider a milk goat. Like I said before, I adore my LaManchas. They are medium sized, easy to handle, easy to milk, very sweet personalities, and produce more than enough for a typical family.

SmartAlex
Mar. 12, 2012, 06:55 PM
Our family friends had a small dairy farm, and milking was a father/son job. The son would use one bucket of iodine solution to clean the udders for all the cows. Basically he stooped, swiped, next cow...stoop, swipe...next cow. That was all. :no:

That is standard procedure. There is commercial udder wash you buy, but you do scrape off the crud. Also, you had to shave the udders and the whole back half of the cow when they achieved their winter coats. Tails were tied to their leg, which is more for the convenince of the milker who wouldn't want a face full of wet cow tail.

The milk house was washed down with hot lye water every day. The entire barn had to be white washed once a year. And of course there were vaccination records. I don't remember the schedule the milk inspector was on, but there is a detailed inspection process, and despite being conscientious farmers, even when I was in grade school I picked up on the family tension when the inspector was due.

SmartAlex
Mar. 12, 2012, 06:58 PM
My cow gives 4 gallons of milk per day. She's very sweet, and much smarter than one might think a cow to be. It's a lot of work, but I'm a farm-girl and love it. We also sell organic free-range eggs for $5 per/doz. You would never believe the difference in the taste, and color of the yolk of the free-range eggs compared to the store-bought.

We had a couple of Jerseys. They are very nice cows and a lot easier to deal with than big bossy Holsteins!

We've had our own eggs for years. Either my mother or I always have a flock. My husband is very perceptive about the taste of the eggs. He can even notice a difference when winter arrives and the free range hens get less greens than they normally would.

rustbreeches
Mar. 12, 2012, 07:37 PM
Not going to comment on the raw milk thing, but for those interested in cheese making, consider Ayrshires. They have the highest cheese yield of any dairy breed, and are even friendlier than Jerseys.

As far as millk inspections, our milk is tested every day when it is picked up. It is further tested at whichever processing facility it ends up at. The cow comes in the barn, is sprayed with tit dip, wiped with a clean antimicrobial towel, and each quarter is stripped. This does two things, first it pulls anything out of each quarter and gives a chance for each milker to make sure there is no mastitis. Secondly, by starting the flow of milk before the claw is applied, we maximize cow comfort. The claw is then attached. We have an auto takeoff, so after each claw drops, the tits are treated with a post dip, as long as the weather is not too cold. Don't want them to get frostbite!

Not only do we get paid bonuses for having a low somatic cell count, our co-op will dock people who have higher than acceptable SCCs. And if you have a problem and don't address it and come in with consistently high plate counts and SCCs, you can get kicked out of the co-op. And they are the only one in our area, unless you are bottling your own.

As for the organic aspect, if you are comfortable letting an animal drown in the fluid in their own lungs, as opposed to pulling them from production and administering antibiotics for pneumonia, then keep on buying organic. That is what happens. They can't legally treat a cow with anything in the event it comes down sick. Of course, that doesn't stop the several thousand cow organic dairy based here in Northern Colorado. They were busted last year for antibiotics in their milk. They are not even supposed to have them on site, much less in their cows.

ThisTooShallPass
Mar. 12, 2012, 07:52 PM
Edit: Oops, meant to start new thread about egg prices. Now done..

OneGrayPony
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:05 PM
rustbreeches you guys sound like the good ones :-)

I wouldn't consider our milk nor eggs to be organic either. I deworm and use medications when indicated and necessary (and dump milk for the prescribed period of time plus 4 days, because I'm weird).

Our free range chickens are not fed a medicated feed, but I wouldn't call them organic because our cracked corn (supplemental) isn't.

I'm more interested in how they are handled and kept. I grew up near some of the cleanest dairies and some of the not so clean ones - its not an easy life and I think we need to support each other!

We also test, strip and teat dip!

tikidoc
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:08 PM
Just out of curiosity, rustbreeches, can they just treat the cow and discard the milk until it has cleared from their system? Most antibiotics for cows say right on the bottle how long you should refrain from milking. Not being able to treat a sick animal seems nuts. I have a problem with animals being given antibiotics when they are not ill, but I have no issue with treating a sick animal and just not milking (or butchering it or whatever) until it has cleared.

tikidoc
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:12 PM
rustbreeches you guys sound like the good ones :-)

I wouldn't consider our milk nor eggs to be organic either. I deworm and use medications when indicated and necessary (and dump milk for the prescribed period of time plus 4 days, because I'm weird).

Our free range chickens are not fed a medicated feed, but I wouldn't call them organic because our cracked corn (supplemental) isn't.

I'm more interested in how they are handled and kept. I grew up near some of the cleanest dairies and some of the not so clean ones - its not an easy life and I think we need to support each other!

We also test, strip and teat dip!

We do things very similarly. I wish I could find a reasonably priced chicken feed that was not medicated. The only one available to us here is organic, and costs 4X what the regular feed costs (almost $1/lb). That said, we are currently building a moveable chicken tractor so they can get more of their diet from forage.

Tapperjockey
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:32 PM
Just out of curiosity, rustbreeches, can they just treat the cow and discard the milk until it has cleared from their system? Most antibiotics for cows say right on the bottle how long you should refrain from milking. Not being able to treat a sick animal seems nuts. I have a problem with animals being given antibiotics when they are not ill, but I have no issue with treating a sick animal and just not milking (or butchering it or whatever) until it has cleared.

From what I understand, once a cow has had antibiotics, they are out. No matter how long it's been.

rustbreeches
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:38 PM
Unfortunately, once a cow has been treated with anitbiotics, it is no longer considered organic. If a calf needs any medication, it either receives it and is useless to the organic people, or doesn't and makes it, or doesn't survive, in order to stay organic.

Milk is the most closely regulated and inspected food product available. Honestly, some people are asshats and don't care, but most of us get it. You take the best possible care of the cow because it is the right thing to do. In turn, the cows produce to their best ability, so we get rewarded for doing the right thing.

I do alot of speaking engagements, radio interviews etc and I always say the same thing. As a parent, I wish every child in the world had the same level of care as the average dairy cow. They are milked for a few minutes 3 times a day, have a wonderful soft, sandy bed, access to food that is decided by a nutritionist, and water 24 hours a day. We have the vet out every 2 weeks for routine checkups etc. Each cow gets her feet trimmed twice a year.

Some of our friends have those great misting systems in their freestalls and catch pens, to keep the cows cool. THey have amazing rotating back scratchers. It really is about keeping the cows at their most comfortable. I know every once in awhile a horrible video pops up, but just like the videos that show abuse in horses, they get more reaction and play than the vidoes of contented, well cared for cows.

We take dairying very seriously, because we aren't just raising our children, we are helping raise your children, too!

OneGrayPony
Mar. 12, 2012, 09:04 PM
Tikidoc do you have a mill nearby that can mill it for you? Our chickens are completely free range, get about 1/3 scoop cracked corn (more so that they stay still enough for us to do a head count each morning) + a handful of oyster shells, and then all the bugs they can eat! Oh, and kitchen scraps...which they adore!
Hopefully lots and lots of ticks this year LOL! They do also steal catfood and goat food sometimes...but we all try to prevent that!

Northern vermonter
Mar. 12, 2012, 09:36 PM
Absolutely you can have a milk cow . the quantity of milk you get can be controlled by what you feed the cow You can put as many calves on that you want but it is work. you don't just put them all together as most cows will not accept calves that are not hers so you tie the cow up and let the calves loose. The first month after freshening is the the most management intensive where the cow can get very sick for different reasons. There is a lot of management to it but great if it works. grass is a necessity for the best milk. You can milk once a day also. Hope this helps.

Tapperjockey
Mar. 12, 2012, 10:35 PM
Absolutely you can have a milk cow . the quantity of milk you get can be controlled by what you feed the cow You can put as many calves on that you want but it is work. you don't just put them all together as most cows will not accept calves that are not hers so you tie the cow up and let the calves loose. The first month after freshening is the the most management intensive where the cow can get very sick for different reasons. There is a lot of management to it but great if it works. grass is a necessity for the best milk. You can milk once a day also. Hope this helps.

That's still not going to help her if she doesn't want to be confined to daily milking.

Goat, cow, sheep, or donkey.. if you are milking an animal, you really need to do it daily.

Daydream Believer
Mar. 12, 2012, 10:38 PM
We do things very similarly. I wish I could find a reasonably priced chicken feed that was not medicated. The only one available to us here is organic, and costs 4X what the regular feed costs (almost $1/lb). That said, we are currently building a moveable chicken tractor so they can get more of their diet from forage.

Purina has several lines of chicken feed that are non medicated. Also Nutrena and Blue Seal have non medicated feeds. Countryside organics is in Stanton VA area and their feed is probably double what the non organic is going for unless you can buy in large quantities.

I'm not organic on any of my food animals. I like the principles of feeding them clean diets and I don't use antibiotics or medicated feed unless I have a sick animal. Most people only object to low doses of antibiotics as used as a preventative and when you explain the difference, they get it. Organic programs are very restrictive on that sort of thing and it doesn't fit for how I will take care of my stock.