Post by stephanieronge on May 27, 2005 18:59:25 GMT -5
Hi, I have a question. I just started milking our cow, after we got rid of her bull calf. She's late in her lactation - 8 - 9 months, but still producing about a gallon of milk a day - perfect for us. She is a half jersey. When I first brought her milk in and refridgerated it the cream separated out really nicely and I scooped it out. Now I let it go a couple of days, and the cream still doesn't seem to separate. The milk looks very creamy. Also, the strainer seems to take a while to let the milk through when I pour off the top of the milk. What's left in the bottom goes right through. I don't understand why the cream won't separate and I don't understand why it is taking so long to go through the strainer. I don't detect and signs of mastitis such as string milk or clots in milk or flakes or anything. Any thoughts? Thanks!
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2009 15:45:13 GMT -5 by barnydhppy
Post by stephanieronge on May 27, 2005 20:03:46 GMT -5
I am not an avid milker, I've only milked her one month a year or so ago - which was miserable because she still had her calf. This time, however, she has been just fine for me and I think I am emptying her udders out enough. (I used to milk a goat, so I think I know how it feels to get all of the milk) The thing is, the milk looks creamy and it separates when I leave it out to curdle or when I make yogurt, but not in the fridge. I don't get it.
My guess is that it is actually mastitis. Some forms of mastitis cause the cow to put a lot of mucus in her milk. The mucus is not harmful but makes the milk very slow to strain. There is a test kit for mastitis you can get at feed stores. That would put your mind at ease.
Post by stephanieronge on May 27, 2005 21:16:06 GMT -5
Farm supply store is closed for Memorial weekend. What do I do in the meantime? I've been milking her out. What could have gone wrong? Do milking machines do a better job getting 0ut all the milk? Last question, How do I dry her off? Thanks
You might want to taste the milk from each quarter to see if any tastes salty or different from the rest. Do you milk once or twice a day? How long does it take you to milk? If she's only giving a gallon a day, I don't think a machine would make a lot of difference. You don't want to leave the machine on long enough to milk her dry anyway.
If it actually is mastitis, which we don't know for sure, don't blame yourself. A lot of the time one never knows what brought it on, or at best makes a conjecture after the fact. The main thing is not to ignore it.
I forgot to mention, after you strain the milk feel the filter. If it feels slimy that is mucus. Then you know for sure you are dealing with mastitis.
Cant you use Dawn dishwashing soap for mastitis checking? Ive heard people swear by it, but havent tried it myself. Might be worth a shot, till you can get to the feed store? Mary F. PS From what they say, you put maybe a teaspoon full in a cup, then squirt some milk in...maybe 2 squirts, then see if it gels up. If it does, its mastitis.
Post by stephanieronge on May 31, 2005 14:23:06 GMT -5
I want to thank you all for all of your advice. It has been very helpful. I think what is happening is that the cream is lighter in color than it used to be because she is now getting some grain. I am trying to lower her grain ration to see if that helps get the nice yellow color back. I think it could also be that the fresh new spring grass is getting more mature making the cream less yellow. I would love any more experienced input on this. I did milk each quarter separately and tasted each one and looked at each one and could see no difference. The milk is not flaky, the straining pads are not slimy and overall the milk seems fine - the cream is not as dark as it was and so the cream line is harder to see. My husband watched the milk strain the other day and thought it strained just fine, so maybe I'm just an overreacting new milker. We have resumed normal milking. They did not even have a mastitis test at the feed store. I will have to order one online. My cow seems fine and her udder is not hot or swollen. I would love advice on the cream color. I've been getting her into the stanchion just fine with apples, carrots, and hay with a sprinkle of grain on top. The amount of milk recieved has not changed. Thanks everyone! Oh, and I will try the soap idea, can't hurt!
Remind me, is your cow a Jersey? If she is on green grass her cream should be several shades yellower than the skim portion and I would expect a distinct creamline after 12 hours of setting. Guernsey cream is even more golden. Other breeds vary. Your butter should be yellower than store bought.
I am glad the mastitis scare is over. Now you have a few tips in case it ever shows up.
Post by stephanieronge on May 31, 2005 16:54:05 GMT -5
Hi Joann, Yes she is a half Jersey. She has never produced a lot of milk like one may expect, but that's o.k. she's very docile, and I don't need tons and tons of milk anyway - I like the cream the most. When I first milked her the line was very noticable (I couldn't believe how much cream there was! I was so excited) and now it is just a couple of shades darker as opposed to the bright yellow in the beginning. When the milk is left out to sour - as I do for the chickens or when I make yogurt the cream becomes noticably yellow. When just in the fridge is appears definately less yellow than in the beginning. Maybe I am just analysing it too much.... but it just seemed to me at first that there was no cream or that the cream wasn't rising. She's definately on green grass - but like I said it is taller and more mature grass now. I did cut back on her grain, so I'll see if that makes a difference. I don't think that it's mastitis though. I will keep an eye on it and order a test, but for now I think it's fine. I appreciate your input very much.
Mow your pasture and possibly water it. Mature pasture isn't much different than hay. Mowing will encourage new growth. May not make any difference to the milk, but it will be more nutritious for the cow.
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