You have been so helpful and I hope I am not being a pest. We are so ignorant on what we are doing.
We are getting some milkings with almost half cream. Is this normal?
Also, we are having a real difficult time straining. We have done mastitis tests and they are negative. We sent samples to SDSU and they came back negative. We have been extremely cold, but even when we can get the milk in to strain when it is still a little warm, it does not want to run through. It just looks like cream on the strainer - nothing stringy or ugly, but for a gallon of milk I need four strainers to get it done. Is this normal?
I am the one who had the surger questions. We are working on it, but it is also not going smoothly. My husband is trying hard, but they just do not want to latch on to the tits. So he is gettings some of it done this way, but milking out by hand.
Should this all be so hard? I am getting frustrated with the time and effort to keep everything clean and safe.
Last Edit: Nov 25, 2009 14:21:05 GMT -5 by barnydhppy
I set up a strainer in my barn. I strain the milk still warm through a fine metal coffee strainer. When I tried the paper coffee filters the milk strained very slowly & I didn't see the point of waiting. The milk is fantastic and if there was a blade of hay in it, (which there isn't 99% of the time), the metal coffee filter would filter it out just fine.
I just needed to attach a 'metal arm' to hold the funnel & strainer over the milk container securely while I pour from the stainless steel milk pail. I rigged one up from a bicycle hang up hook. What ever works.
Last Edit: Jan 28, 2005 18:21:18 GMT -5 by Deleted
These suggestions may not be of any use. I am not completly sure I have grasped the problem. But will try.
Regarding the surge cups falling off, the two main causes are: 1) fluctuation in vacuum. If this is occuring it needs attention as it is bad for the teats and udder. 2) Teat cups may be the wrong size. For a Jersey, you nearly always need the narrow inflations.
Fluctuations from one milking to the next in cream volume often mean the cow was not entirely milked out last time or can relate to letdown. To see the true cream volume the milk needs to stand in the frig for 24 hours. By then the cream level will have stabilized. Always make your comparisons between jars that have stood an equal length of time.
When using my Surge in cold weather, I transport it to and from the barn with a blanket over it. I often pre warm the whole thing on the stove so it starts off really warm. This really does help. Cold milk always strains badly.
I have heard that a goat milk straining set-up works poorly for cow's milk. My milk straining unit takes a 6" single use filter disk that locks in place on a 6" wide surface like a colander. I would suggest you experiment with straining through a linen napkin or tea towel (cotton will not work well at all) as described in my book. See if your milk will rush through this as it should if it is warm. If compelled to use cotton, wet it first in hot water. Actually, linen works even better if wet too.
If anyof this proves useful please let us know. We need to get you all sorted out before that second cow is on line!
Please explain the size of the teat cups. Maybe a measurement? We asked for a Jersey with small teats. She also only has 3 working teats and one cup has a plug. Maybe we do not have it adjusted right too.
My guess is that the cream difference may be letdown related. My husband is very new to milking and is doing his best. The cow is trying. The differences in cream level is after 24 hours.
I am pleased to know that cold milk does strain badly. I will relay your suggestions on warming the surger. We can sure put it in a blanket.
I wanted the smaller strainer for the goat as it is easier to clean and our cow one did not have the lock down piece. I have tried the wet towel approach when I have been desparate. Is the goat one just too small of a straining area?
By the way, your book does not get put away. And I thank you for your butter instructions. I read and reread all the time.
To the best of my knowledge there are only two sizes of teat cups for Surge. However there are several styles within each size range. It might be best to look at one of the dairy supply sites where they have silouhette (SP?) drawings of all of them.
You can get straining cloths clean and sanitary by rinsing promptly and washing in a low suds detergent cleaner such as OxiClean. Or you can rinse thoroughly, then boil them a couple of minutes. When the weather gets better just wash them then put them in the sun. These approaches all work fine, its just a question of not getting careless, which is so easy to be when you are as busy as we all are. That's why I use the single-use dairy filters. Then I always know they are ready to go.
If I were you, especially with a second cow coming along, I would aim for a real cow milk straining unit with a big hopper on top that holds several gallons and uses disposable filters. In the meantime I would use a tea towel affixed to the top of another bucket with some clothespins. Make life easy.
Hi Sue Do you have a pressure gauge on your machine? Does it sit at around 12 when the machine is working fine?
Another thing that may be contributing to the problem with getting the cups on; You need to have the hoses from the cups to the claw twisted and folded over to keep the pressure built up. Just unfold one at a time to put on. With mine I attach one cup, wait until the milk starts surging through the hose (you can tell by the sound if you don't have a sight glass or a clear hose) then attach the next one etc.
Because of my crook hands we cut my claw down to a two cup apparatus so I only have to have one lot of these small hoses folded over and I have a fabulous wee clip which holds back the suction until I'm ready. Does that make sense? I can easily take a pic to show you if you want.
I just use muslin folded in two to filter my milk. Straight after filtering at the dairy shed I rinse it in cold water twice, bring it home, put it into a mixture of boiling water and a few drops of bleach, soak for a couple of hours, rinse thoroughly and hang it on the clothes line to dry in the sunshine (something you may be short of at the moment!) The milk always tastes beautiful and keeps well.
Having so much cream is a wonderful complaint to have Think of all the butter you could be stockpiling in your freezer. There are quite a few cheeses that require a lot of cream too.
Let me know if you want a pic of my clip
Midge - who stays permanently logged on to save precious time;-) New Zealand Milk-maid to Lizzie and Boss Cow of a growing herd of glorious Jerseys
I was having the OPPOSITE problem when I got Camelia. She is a Jersey but her teats are unusually large and I had to order a larger size inflation for her. Most Jerseys take the small to medium size. As for straining the milk, I started out using a coffee filter but very quickly realized I had to use something else. It was straining WAY too slow. I now do as Midge and use a muslin-type material folded in two and strain into a large 2 gallon container. The milk flows quickly and you can see tiny cow hairs and flecks of dirt on the strainer. NEVER had a cow hair or any foreign object in my milk. Hang in there, y'all are doing great!
I can buy the filter disks at my Farmer's Union or Agway. But I have seen them in as supply placed on line. They are $9 or $10/100. They can be rinsed and re-used and I sometimes do this, steam sterilizing them in a vegetable steamer. They are not inherently superior to muslin. I choose them partly because I have a nice big stainless steel milk strainer, as described earlier. And also because I sell a lot of milk and I think my use of them gives confidence to customers.
I can buy the filter disks at my Farmer's Union or Agway. But I have seen them in ag supply places on line. They are $9 or $10/100. They can be rinsed and re-used and I sometimes do this, steam sterilizing them in a vegetable steamer. They are not inherently superior to muslin. I choose them partly because I have a nice big stainless steel milk strainer, as described earlier, and it requires them. And also because I sell a lot of milk and I think my use of them gives confidence to customers.
The kind of muslin Moomad is able to get is what is sold in cheesemaking supply catalogues. It is an airy but firmly woven fabric and with care will last for years. It is not available in US stores, only in the UK for some reason.
I might just mention that neither my sterile dairy filters nor any fabric strains out bacteria, only debris. Benign bacteria are everywhere in the home and farm environment. We don't worry about them, except to be careful with wash-up so that our milk keeps well. As for harmful bacteria, a healthy cow does not cause illness.
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This book is intended as an inspirational manual for keeping a family milk cow. A lifetime of practical experience has been bound into one volume. Practical advice for the everyday and procedures for cow emergencies. Plus, answers to FAQ's like, 'Should you get a cow?' and 'How Much Space do I need?'