How to milk a cow once a day
Sometimes there becomes a point on the homestead or farm were milking once a day becomes a necessity. Be it for too much milk for the family to consume or needing to find a better balance between farm and family. Milking a cow twice a day sometimes can feel like a hostage situation.
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Benefits to milking once a day
There are many perks to milking a cow once a day. Most commonly to decrease the stress on the farmer or farm staff. Milking within 12 hour intervals does pay a hefty toll, especially in the dark winter months when most families are wrapping down for the evening and milking time rolls around. Depending on the cow, milking once a day can also relieve the demand on the milk cow. Some cows are twice a day machines, some even milk three times a day. Other cows flourish very well at just once a day. For thinner dairy cows, there are lots of cases that suggest being milked only once a day, will regain a very nice thicker body structured.
Keep in mind that dropping your cow to once a day milking production will drop roughly 25% to 35%.
A standard producing cow (Jersey, Guernsey or brown swiss) that is milked twice a day, will produce roughly 2.5 gallons per milking. Once the cow is dropped to a once a day milking schedule, she could produce downward of 1.5- 3 gallons per day.
How to start milking once a day
How to start your cow on milking once per day without calf sharing.
This greatly depends on how much milk they are currently producing. First and foremost you need decrease her grain.
More caloric intake stimulates more milk production. With a decrease demand on the cow, the necessary intake should be decreased as well. She may stop her feet and protest a bit, however, she will get used to it. The key thing with cows is routine, routine, routine.
Decrease Hours Between Milkings
Generally it is best to slowly dwindling their milking times. If you are currently milking at 7 AM and 7 PM, begin to start milking her at 7 AM and at 4 PM, do this for three days. On day 4, milk her at 7 AM and 2 PM do this for two days. On day six milk your cow at 7 AM and noon. By now she should be decreasing in production fairly rapidly. when a cows udder is tight it’s signals her body to slow down production. By decreasing the frequency within your milking times, her body should decline production. Within a week you should be able to safely drop your cow down to once a day milking.
How to milk your cow once a day while calf sharing
Calf sharing is milking a cow while leaving the calf on mama to nurse. There are many benefits of leaving the calf on. Firstly and most importantly, you have a built in milker. While this doesn’t mean you can be absentee from the barnyard, it does mean you have the luxury to skip a few milkings if need be. Second there is no need to bottle feed a calf. While some people truly enjoy bottle feeding a calf, I honestly find it a big pain in the butt. Letting mama do the job naturally will raise is a nice hefty calf.
If you’re wanting to milk a cow once a day and also leave the calf on mama you can do this two different ways. Milk mama cow out first thing in the morning and let the calf be with her all day long. In the evening when you would typically milk, separate the calf from mama. In the morning milk out the cow and give her back her baby to nurse during the day. If you are not looking for full cream, this is an excellent way to milk once a day. If you are in it for the butter and let’s be honest, who’s not, then you need to separate the calf completely and bottle feed it. More likely than not, mama cow will not let down her cream down for you.
If you do not want to separate the calf at night, then you can leave it on mama 24/7, however, as the calf grows, it will be drinking more milk, which means, you will be drinking less.
What to watch for.
Every cow has different genetics. Some cows tolerate once a day milking exceptionally well. Some cows are not good candidates for once a good day milking, as they are either have a inherited elevated high somatic cell count, making them prone to mastitis or they just plain make too much milk to qualify for this type of schedule.
Warrantably, this seems to be the top priority. Mastitis in milk cows roughly cost the dairy industry over $2 billion in losses per year. Mastitis also results unfortunately in premature culling of a good dairy animal. While several cases of mastitis is genetic, there’s lots of ways to prevent it on the homestead when dropping to once a day milking.
Post milking teat dip is an essential step to help prevent mastitis. This can be done with an iodine-based dip, a spray on Chlorhexidine or a powdered Chlorhexidine which is an excellent choice for freezing temps. (No one likes frost bit teats y’all.)
Making sure your cow has clean dry fresh bedding is also pertinent. After milking, the teat orifice can stays open for up to 45 minutes. So it is essential to dip the teat to prevent bacteria from entering the udder. Another essential to preventing mastitis is clean dry bedding. If your cow leaves the barn and go lays in a pile of poop the udder is now contaminated with bacteria and it can enter the mammary glands causing mastitis.
If milking once a day is what is needed to maintain your family and farm, go for it. Balance on the homestead is essential for a happy homestead. Without balance you will find yourself burn out and your milk cow for sale.