Once upon a time, there was a woman. This woman gave birth to three children in under four years.
Needless to say, this woman found every minute of sleep precious. Sleep was her happy place.
Even more-so when winter rolled around, in all its frozen glory.
And thus, one morning, this woman sat down with her husband and presented the idea of once a day milking. After all, for the past year, she’d been rising before dawn—wandering down to the barn in her best barn/pajama wear—and milking her beloved family cow. Before dinner, her husband repeated the routine. Through the prime of the season, this beloved cow was gifting four or five gallons of milk per day. Treasured by many a family friend. And the pigs, of course.
But then, not long after the third rascal was born into the family and was needing to nurse in the middle of the night, the woman decided it was time for a break from these morning days with her bovine mistress. After all, those 23 minutes of extra sleep were precious—a gift to be treasured. And here she is, wonderfully enjoying her days of once-a-day milkings.
Once-a-day milkings have enabled her to:
– Brush her teeth prior to greeting the world in the morning
– Remember to put her pants on
– Maintain at least 47 minutes of extra sanity throughout the day
– Wash less milk jars
– Drink at least three sips of caffeinated coffee before having to think quickly or make any important decisions
Yes, it’s possible! Even if you don’t have a calf to relieve you, you can have once-a-day milkings. Thank you, dear Lord, for our beautiful cow and for the beautiful season of once-a-day milkings.
How To Move A Cow To Once A Day Milking
1. Pick the milking you want to keep. We chose to keep the afternoon milking, which usually takes place around 4:30 pm. We wanted to get rid of the morning milking, which took place at 5:15 am.
2. When you’re ready to eliminate the milking, start by leaving some milk in the udder during the milking you’re wanting to eliminate. For us, this meant leaving milk in her udder in the morning. We left her with approximately 25% of her milk. It’s a little difficult to estimate since you can’t see the milk in the udder, but once you’ve been milking for awhile you have a pretty good feel for how much milk is left.
3. At the next milking, completely strip her out. For us, this meant stripping her out at her afternoon milking.
4. Repeat this process for 3-4 days, leaving some of the milk in during one milking and completely stripping during the other.
5. After you’ve left milk in for 3-4 days, skip the milking that you’d like to eliminate. But be sure to feed her as normal! For us, this just means throwing out a few flakes of hay at milking time.
6. The next day, milk her both times – leaving some milk in her udder during the milking you’d like to eliminate, as before.
7. Repeat this process 3 times over the course of 6 days.
8. Completely stop milking during the milking you’d like to eliminate. Feed as normal. Strip out at the other milking.
9. Watch carefully for any signs of chronic engorgement, which can easily lead to mastitis. The key to moving a cow to once-a-day milking is to go slow. A gradual process is easiest and healthiest for her. ALWAYS watch for signs of redness, tenderness, etc.
10. That’s it! Keep milking once a day until you’d like to dry the cow up completely.
We were overwhelmed when we first began this process with Sally. But overall, it went great. She seemed happy to have a break and we were happy to give her (and ourselves!) one. She never had any problems with engorgement, infection, or mastitis. We went slow and gently and she seemed to appreciate that.
Yes, cow appreciate things. They let you know by being kind and relaxed when you’re around them. And not kicking at you when you’re getting ready to milk.
Oh cows. how I love thee.
More cow related posts:
- How to Milk Once a Day (when there is a calf)
- How to Make Butter
- Cheesemaking: the Very Basics
- And then there was a Calf
[OLD NEWS from 2014] In other exciting bovine news… you may have heard via Facebook…
SALLY IS PREGNANT! Which means that Beatha Fonn Farm will be welcoming a new calf at the end of May! I could hardly be more excited. We’ve waited for over a year and a half to have a positive pregnancy result from one of our cows. I’d like to think that her mineral supplements had something to do with it.
Our current plan is to completely dry Sally up in February. This will give her the entire month of March, April, and May to rest up for her delivery. She’s been an incredible family cow, willingly letting us milk her for over a year now. The ol’ girl deserves a serious break!
All in all, the once-a-day milking is best for both of us right now. Mama gets to nurse the baby in peace in the morning, catch a bit of extra sleep, and Sally gets to have a small break too.
Every one wins.
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