Friday, May 29, 2015

So much milk

The heifers I buy and raise as milk cows or nurse cows all come from the same south Missouri dairy where Holsteins and Jerseys are crossed back and forth all the time; so whatever calves you buy from them are a mix, with some of them showing more Jersey breeding than others.  Penny would pass for pure Jersey if you went by her appearance, and her cream is thick and rich as any purebred Jersey cow's cream would be; however, she only gives about half as much cream as a full-blooded Jersey would.  

The only things I care about in a cow I'm going to milk is that I do like the thick cream, and that they have skim milk that doesn't taste skim (Jersey milk has more solids-not-fat).  Also, I love how Jersey cows look.  

Obviously, Cliff and I can't consume a lot of milk, but crazy as it sounds, I do love milking a cow occasionally, and because my other cow, Grace, gives typical Holstein milk (even though she has a somewhat Jersey appearance), I choose to milk Penny.  What I've been doing is stealing the milk from two of her quarters and letting the three calves she's always trying to kill fight over the milk left in the other two.  But I'm interested in knowing just how much milk a cow is producing, so today I let the three baby calves nurse Grace, the other cow, and made the two calves that usually take Grace's milk do without; they're older, and it won't kill them.  In fact, they could be weaned, but I need them taking Grace's milk.  

Then I milked Penny, taking every drop.  I find it interesting that this cow that tries her best to kill those calves when they're sucking doesn't so much as twitch or move a foot while I sit beneath her for twenty minutes or so milking.  The only part of her body that moved the whole time was her tail, because she was swatting at flies. 

I began to think my three-gallon bucket wasn't going to hold all the milk, but it did.

It's a wonder I didn't spill some of it getting to the house.  That much milk in a bucket is almost too heavy for this old woman to handle.  Just think, in twelve hours she will give that much milk again!

No wonder it was heavy!  What you see here is over two-and-a-half gallons of milk, which weighs about twenty-two pounds.  You should have seen me struggling to lift it up high enough to strain it into the jars!  After taking the picture, I promptly poured the partly-full jar down the drain.  The other two gallons went in the refrigerator because I can always use the cream for something.  Most of the milk will be poured down the drain later.  If I didn't mind milking every day, I would get a pig to raise on the milk, but I'm afraid the little bit of arthritis in my left hand would turn into extreme arthritis.  I don't need that.  Besides, I really don't WANT to have to milk twice a day, every day.  I like letting the calves do it. 

By the way, there are cows on dairies that give over twice as much milk as Penny does.


  1. It's such a shame you have to pour that wonderful milk down the drain. It looks so good. Enjoy !

  2. Three gallons. That is alot of milk.

  3. I guess I've never seen milk with the cream still in it because it's a different color! Patt would laugh at me. :)

  4. what a workout! whew

  5. Wow! That's a lot of milk. Instead of picking up the full bucket to pour it into the strainer could you scoop it out with a pitcher or something 'til it was lighter? Just a thought :-) I grew up on fresh cow's milk also and mom skimmed the cream off the top each time we went and got milk from the neighbors milk tank


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