Sunday, April 17, 2011

Milking Time...

It seems like every time we turn around, it's milking time!

It's routine for us...and sometimes we get asked questions about milking that we never really thought about much before.

Today we were over visiting our neighbor before evening milking, and he asked: "How long does it take to milk a cow?"  I had to think about that for a bit...and guessed that it's probably around five minutes per cow, on average.  Then we headed out to the barn, and I decided to time a few cows just to see if I was right...

Here, Jim is washing off "the Twin", preparing her for the milker.  We wash and dry each cow's teats with an individual, biodegradable paper towel.  The end of the teat needs to be clean and dry in order to keep the milk clean and to prevent infection from entering the udder.  The stimulation of washing her also causes the cow to "let down" her milk.

Now the milker is on "the Twin"...and I've started watching the clock, just to see...
She's a good milking cow, about 120 days into her fourth lactation. (She's had her fourth calf)  

When the milker came off, I looked at the clock.  Five minutes and ten seconds!
She's likely milking around eighty pounds per day...but we don't know for sure, since we don't weigh the milk individually for each cow.  The herd as a whole is averaging seventy pounds per day, per cow.

I timed a few other cows as well...and came up with milking times anywhere from four + minutes to seven + minutes for a new first calf heifer who milks out hard (and who kicks the milker off whenever she's tired of it!) 

It's interesting what little details we learn from the questions we are asked, so go ahead and ask... 'll try to find an answer!


  1. Amen to the tight milk schedule. We milk goats and only for our own use. So we don't havve to worry about drop in milk production or the other things you do. Keep up the work though. We need great dairy farmers like you guys. Thank you

  2. Alica That is very interesting. We have not milked since Mary the cow. It took one hour or more to get her in the barn,and way more than 5 minutes to milk her she was not very cooperative. Funny, thanks Alica. B

  3. Funny the things we take for granted can be so interesting and helpful to others who don't have the same lifestyle. Thanks for sharing a bit of your workday. Loved it! :)

  4. Back in the day when I was kid on the farm we had to milk by hand never had all the fancy machines then, wish we did WOW do you ever develope strong fingers and wrists lol Awesome post brought back great memories of our cattle and yummy fresh milk ! Have a great day !

  5. Wow I never thought about how long it would take. That is amazing. I grew up and I milked by hand. It was a long time before my Dad bought a machine. I enjoyed milking by hand but of course we didn't have a dairy. :)
    My Mom did make butter and we sold our cream and butter milk like crazy. She had Daisy churn and we wore those things out. :)

  6. What a great post! I wouldn't even think about how long it takes me to milk a goat. Of course I do it by hand. How long would that take? LOL

  7. How many cows do you milk each day?


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