How to Milk Share With Mama and Have Fresh Raw Milk when YOU Want
Mama, calf, and a lot of milk. mmm, you want that milk, but how do you grow a calf, have fresh milk, but not be tied down every day? Milk share the calf with the mama and all will be happy…..well, except you’ll want a gallon of just cream for all the dairy products you dream about making…..cream is the first and definitely added to my morning coffee.
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We got our first jersey (Sadie) two years ago. It was a dream of mine for over a decade. She was three months pregnant. Also, we bought a three-day-old calf.
She was a commercial cow we trained and made her our family cow….which was a little challenging.
- train her to come in the stanchion
- she wasn’t happy with a calf on her, so she kicked her off a lot….we started to bottle feed the calf but she finally took her
- add to our daily farm chores
We loved adding a jersey to our homestead. Raw milk was so delicious!
What kind of milk cow should I get?
Check your local area for these breeds as the milk is easier to digest and the butterfat content is higher.
- brown swiss
Do you have to milk every day?
No, it’s not necessary.
It’s your schedule and days it’s convenient for you…..but you’ll want to get as much as you can because supply will diminish as the calf grows.
We had a great routine…kids added it to their team chore day and it was going well.
Except when we had to chase a calf to pen up for the night….
How do you milk share?
- separate calf for 12 hrs at night starting when the calf is around 12-14 days old.
- milk mama in the morning with 3 stripped and leaving 1 for calf
- reunite mama and calf after milking
- repeat when desired
For an alternative to 12 hrs you can start with a few hours they are separated then increase the time if that works better.
Mama tends to hold back to keep enough for the calf. When you’re milking have calf in sight for mama. Also, you may need to put calf on for a minute so mama will let down her milk. You can do this several times during milking.
Supplies for milking
- milk bucket-we use two. one for milking into and then we pour that one in the safe bucket with a lid just in case the other gets dumped.
- strainer-I use a reusable coffee strainer
- Azure standard has gallon jars if you are interested in them. Half gallons work great too.
- apple cider vinegar-we clean the udder with it
All seemed well and we stopped milking her a couple of months before she calved.
She went down so we tried to nurse her back to health. We had her 6 months and she passed on her due date to calve….very. hard. loss.
We were all so sad. Losing a large animal was difficult. Farming is HARD work. And you’ll have….
- good days.
- hard days
You have more appreciation of where our food comes from and what farmers for centuries have gone through.
And as much as I felt this enormous burden to keep it going perfect and control everything.
…well, you just can’t. Animals are unpredictable and keeping everything in line and perfect just isn’t going to happen.
Over a year later we bought Molly…due to calve soon. (update: bull calf was born two days later) Also, we bought Bess…another jersey. She just came to our farm a week ago along with a 9-day-old calf. The kids named her (but we may sell her when she’s weaned) Bess is super gentle and we’ve already milked. (the cream is awesome in my coffee)
Note: if you cannot milk that morning, join the calf with mama. it’s a win-win.
Is raw milk good for you?
Raw milk has not been pasteurized. Many can drink raw milk that cannot tolerate milk purchased from the store.
Benefits to milk sharing with a calf
- less mastitis
- more freedom
Do I have to milk share with a calf?
No, you can get a mama that has just calved and she will provide you with a lot of milk. but you will need to milk her twice a day and strip those teats…
When our jersey calved, she was down for awhile. We milked her and gave colostrum to the calf by bottle. Then, had to move him to our other jersey. When she came to her feet, we milked her twice a day. The cream was nice because we were getting it all. Recently, we have put the calf on her. Although, I do miss the cream, but milking twice a day is harder. And if you can’t milk, you know the calf is with her.
Milk share is a great way to have raw milk and on your time schedule….unless you want all the cream for yourself and you don’t want to share with the calf. Remember as you sip the last of your coffee, you can have another cup again tomorrow with all the goodness of the cream before the world wakes up…..if the morning allows it.