Monday, December 13, 2010

Homemade milk stanchion

Molly, ready to milk
Here is Molly modeling our milk stanchion.  The 2x6 swings shut to keep her head in, while allowing her to eat a little grain and alfalfa.  She's happy to walk right in, but when she's done- watch out.  She has quite an impressive range of motion in this thing which keeps me grabbing the milk bucket to keep away from moving, pooey feet.  So far I haven't found milking to be the relaxing experience it could be, but maybe with time I will pull it off with grace. 

Karen, ready to milk

I haven't yet come close to emptying Molly's expansive utter, but her heifer calf, Nellie, and her adopted steer calf, Jake, are happy to take over whenever I tire.  Share milking, as it's called when the cow keeps her calves and also provides for the family, has been a great success for us.  Not only do I only need to milk once a day, but I can comfortably vacation away from Molly, leaving the calves on duty.  When I want to resume milking, I lure Molly into the barn with treats after her calves have had dinner, milk her in the morning, and turn her out for the hungry herd to finish the job.  The only drawback?  The calves get the richer, hind milk, while we were stuck with mostly skim.  My few batches of pastured dairy butter? ... amazing.

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