We have been milking now for about a month. What a rewarding experience. Everything seems to be going great except for one minor issue. The milk has a very strong smell. When we are straining it you can smell it more than when it is cold. And then the surge bucket afterwards smells terrribly sour, immediately. Once the milk is cold it doesn't smell as bad but definitely has a strong milk smell. Is this normal? The cream also does not mix all the way back in. She is out on pasture and only gets about 5lbs organic 16% dairy feed. She gets a little beet pulp and kelp as a top dressing on her grain. Everyone says it tastes o.k. but the smell!! The surge bucket we have was from a farmer down the road. It sat out in his barn for 10 plus years. Of course I cleaned it up very well, but could it just be it sat unclean for too long? Any thoughts would sure be appreciated. She is giving a ton of cream too would that play a part?
Thanks for your time,
P.S. I have to tell you all how much I have learned from this site. What a great forum. My husband now enjoys to read also. Thanks to all the people that run this site. It is so great to know that there is a place you can go for us beginners to get tried and true advice. Thanks Again.
I don't have any words of wisdom on the smell issue, but I totally relate to how you felt finding this website. I had been milking a couple of months before finding it, and it was like finding a pot of gold!
Just a thought - have you smelled warm milk from other cows? Is yours different? Maybe you just are not used to the warm milk scent. It does smell different than cold milk. You might try hand milking her once and see if it smells different - then you'd know if it's the machine or the milk. - kathie
I hope the people that use the milkers will chime in. My first thought, and I have no experience with machine milkers, is that there is something in the milker that is not getting cleaned. I would be surprised to find out the smell was coming directly from the fresh milk. Have you tried hand milking some and see if you can smell anything then? Have you squirted any out in a strainer/strip cup to see if there are any clumps? That's where I generally start is by looking at the milk directly.
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I machine milk but am fairly new to it. We've always noticed a smell to the milk that is sometimes feed smellish or sometimes fishy, we're looking at her feed as I have smelled our milker all over and sterilized it multiple times and don't think it's the machine. I've milked by hand and noticed the same thing. Our Jersey milk smelled like warm raw milk but this new cow's milk was definately stronger. I had been giving her wheat germ oil and taking that away seems to have helped.
Is there any etching on the inside of the bucket? (feel with your hands if it is smooth or at all rough) There are possibly old milk deposits that could be harbouring bacteria. Maybe get a dairy acid to wash it? How about the claw, do you take it completely apart now and then to sterilize? I found this made a big difference. I rinse it in cold water immediately after milking and use a bit of biodegradable dish soap in each claw then once a week I take the whole contraption apart, diconnect all the hoses and soak it all in a soap/water/oxy bleach (peroxide) solution and scrub it all, let it all dry well and put it back together.
Look for weeds out in your pasture. I don't know where you live, but in E. WA there's a weed called Fanweed/Pennycress that grows 1-2 feet high and has flat pods and you can see dark seeds within it. This particular weed makes your milk smell/taste like it's gone bad. I would think that warm milk would smell even stronger... This coupld possibly be your problem.
I got my Surge buckets from a man that hadn't used the for over 14 years. None of them smell or affect my milk in any way, that I've noticed. They're all SS and I occasionally sterilize/use CIP powdered cleaner (with bleach) to really clean it.
It's very likely that Kathie may be right, too! Fresh raw milk can come off as having a smell, expecially after you've been used to drinking that white stuff from the store!!
Post by Melissa (Nonesuch Farm) on Aug 10, 2008 12:59:51 GMT -5
Colleen's milk has always had a strong but fresh and not unpleasant smell whether using the Surge (which is ancient and was VERY dirty when I got it) or hand milking. A couple of times her milk has smelled (and tasted a little) like a cow in the same way that goat's milk can smell and taste "goaty". I haven't been able to really trace those times back to something different to eat or heat (hers or mother natures) or anything else. When she has particularly strong milk I just make yogurt or cheese with it and that seem to work out better than drinking it fresh... I have also noticed it is stronger warm than cold... so am eagerly awaiting replies from the Milk Gurus!
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Smell her breath and her urine, if it has stronger concentrations of the milk smell, or if it has a bit of a nail polish remover smell (acetone) she may have ketosis. This is a health issue and you will need to address it. How's her weight? Is she a big producer? Has the milk supply tapered off recently? Has the smell been consistent since she freshened or has it recently changed?
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Her weight looks good. She produces about 3 gallons a day. We have had her for about a month now. The funny thing the milk tastes fine it just smells strong. When you talk about taking apart the whole machine, what do you mean? Do I need to take out the rubber inflations and the hoses to the pulsator? The only part the milk touches is through those rubber inflations and right into the bucket, which I clean after each milking with vinegar and water. I also scrub with one of those brushes. Could it be vinegar residue? I was pretty sure I rinsed well enough but.... Should I try something else to wash with? Any suggestions? About the weeds... we live in Wisconsin, I have never heard of that weed. But then again I have never studied weeds. Anywhere I might find a picture?
Post by missevelyn on Aug 10, 2008 14:49:32 GMT -5
Is she getting wild onion? That's a classic for coming through into the milk.
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Post by buxombeefcowdairy on Aug 10, 2008 15:02:08 GMT -5
I read somewhere about a genetic trait in Aryshire cattle, that makes the milk smell/taste fishy. Eeew! I can't say as I would want THAT trait in a cow...but I just saw it in passing, on a bull stud site, I can't remember which one. I hear garlic can also be icky in the milk, but if your beef animal eats it consistently, it makes the meat taste fabulous.
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If you know someone else with a cow, maybe you could "sniff" their milk to compare... that might help you in figuring out if it's just you or if it's really her.
And although milk theoretically does not touch many portions of the milking machine, it's very easy to contaminate those areas. For example, if your cow milks more than the bucket holds or if the bucket gets tipped to the point that the lid is sucking in milk, it can get into air tubes and causes rapid bacterial growth. Those parts should be sterilized at least occasionally.
Check if Wisconsin has a noxious weed (or just plain weed) advisory board. They should have a website with detailed information and pictures. you can also take your weeds in to them to be identified (Free!) which is pretty cool.
I just joined this forum. I found it Googling for fishy odor smell, because yesterday some milk from our goats smelled fishy, and got worse after we pasteurized it.
In Googling it further, I learned that the smell is caused by trimethylamine, caused by fat breakdown in the milk. While some cows can genetically produce more trimethylamine than others, from what I read it is more likely caused by either the milk being exposed to sunlight, or the diet of the cow being high in wheat.
One dairy lab even set a standard as to what level of the substance could be in the milk and it taste okay to people. It apparently is not a health concern. And it has nothing to do with cleanliness at all.
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