Enjoy your own milk your way.
Fresh on your cereal, or in your smoothies.
6 Steps for successful and enjoyable milking
Choosing Your Milkers
Equipment Required for Milk
Preparing Your Milkers
Well Being and Health Management
Using The Milk
Dexter’s like all milkers, have their little likes and dislikes. If someone strange milks for you, they can get unsettled.
If you put Betty in the Bale first instead of Suzie things might not go so well. Betty will probably milk well, but Suzie might not be her usual self.
Let’s get to milking.
1. Choosing your Milkers. If purchasing a heifer for a milker. Check out her udder to try and avoid pitfalls down the track.Check teat length, placement of teats, make sure there are no fused teats. If possible check out the placement of the sire’s nipples around his scrotum, as this indicates the placement of his female progeny’s teats. Due to the Dual-Purpose characteristics of Registered Dexter’s, they are expected to have naturally correct udders.
2. Equipment required for milking.
Firstly, your cow.
A bale or something to restrain your cow, this needn’t be expensive or flash. It does need to make you and your cow feel secure and safe.
If you are not an experienced milker, and it’s all new to your cow, the best option is a small holding yard, with a bale built into the yard. A feed box at the head of the bale is also a good idea. A chain and leg rope to start with will keep you, the cow, and the bucket of milk safer.
A milking stool
Milking grease. A sterilised ointment made from top quality refined mineral oil, Milking grease is primarily used for its protective properties. Keeping the teats soft and stops cracks and chafing in the wet weather. Don’t use a petroleum product as it dries out the teats.
A milk bucket and another small container of warm water and a soft cloth.
Rubber boots, as milk rots leather.
3. Preparing your Milker.
Get her to become comfortable with being in the yard and bale area. (Perhaps start feeding in the that area for a while before calving.) Another options is to halter in the yard and lead the cow into the bale.
When she’s feeding, rub around her udder, talk to her, but most importantly let her learn your routine, and get used to the sound of your voice.
Cows are creatures of habit especially dairy breeds, they find it much easier to have a routine that they are familiar with and this can save any upsets by a spooked cow.
Get her accustomed to having her feed in the bale, with the chain around her rear end, and even having her leg tied back. You may never need to leg rope her to milk, but if she is a kicker, the rope isn’t a shock once she’s full of milk and a bit concerned about you taking her milk.
After birthing allow the calf 3 to 5 days to get the all important colostrum. Check that the calf is drinking off all four teats.
Once you have your cow where and how you want her, wash her udder and teats with the warm water, this cleans her teats as well as encourages her to let the milk down.
Trim any long hair around the udder, this saves it getting caught up in your hands, and you pulling it, making the cow lift a leg or fidget around.
Rub a good dollop of milking grease on the udder and teats.
Place the milk bucket either between the knees, ankles, or both. Don’t leave it sitting on the ground under the cow. (Much too easy to get it tipped over or end up with a hoof in the bucket.)
Milk by clamping fingers around the teat, squeeze and gently pull down.
Some breeders strip the cows right out as an extra precaution against infection. Others who milk Dexter’s believe it’s not necessary if they have a calf on them.
The last stage of milking is preparing the milk for human consumption.
5. Well, Being and Health Management of your Milker.
If your cow is really engorged with milk, you might notice blood in her milk for several days after calving. Often it is where she has knocked her udder against her leg and bruised or ruptured a tiny blood vessel. An aggressive calf can cause the same trouble when suckling.
Mastitis can be a huge problem if not treated.
How will I know? The cow’s quarter will sometimes feel very hard, and quite hot. The biggest give away is feeling the lumps come down the teat canal when milking. It is very easy to spot on the side of the bucket, or if you squirt a little milk on the ground. It looks like strands of cotton in the milk. Discard this quarters milk.
Usually, a vet will want a milk sample, before issuing medication.
Treatment is usually made by inserting a thin tube up the milk canal and squeezing the tube of cream into the teat for the instructed number of days.
The cow will need that quarter stripped out before applying the treatment each day. There is also a few days withholding for the milk out of that quarter after treatment.
Hygiene - All your buckets, cloths and bottles need to be sterilized after each milking. To do this, use boiling water.
6. Using the Milk
Apart from using the milk for everyday use on cereal, and for hot or cold drinks you can also try making your own Butter, Ricotta, Yoghurt, Ice-Cream, and Cottage Cheese.