Did you know that dairy cows are milked 2-3 times a day? We only milk our cows 2 times daily. Each cow can produce on an average of 2,200 gallons of milk each year or about 7 gallons or more each day!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Monday morning was a challenge for all of us to get into the school mood after being off of school for 2 weeks. Luke, our son, was up all night with an ear infection. Lunches had to be made and out the door they went. I had to make Luke a doctor appointment. Always have to be made around the milking time. After the cows were milked, Drew and Herb hauled grain to the market to be sold. Carl delivered steers to Stehlen’s Meat Market. Milking time always comes around fast. Before you know it, it is time to milk. Kids had basketball practice with homework in-between.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
There are several different breeds, or kinds of dairy cows. They are different colors, but all produce delicious, nutritious milk for us to drink. The main dairy breeds are Holstein, Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorn. Our farm milks mostly Holsteins and a few Jersey. The milking always takes longer in the morning. The cows have more time to produce more milk through the night. So each cow takes longer to milk. Each cow has to be “striped”. That means you have to clean the udder, milk out a little of each udder, then we spray them with a iodine solution and wipe them off with a paper towel. After we take the milker off each udder, the udder is dipped into another solution to help protect it from bacteria. Each cow can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to milk. Every cow is different. Around our farm, Tuesday is Carl’s day to go to Eaton, OH to the livestock auction to either sell or puchase. He leaves around 11 am and returns home at milking time. Herb & Drew’s combine was delivered today. They had to meet the driver and bring the combine home. They were like two little boys at Christmas time. We had to sit down today and get lots of paperwork done together; this is a challenge because everyone is always busy.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A “milking parlor” is a room or building that is used only to milk the cows in. All the milking machines are in this room. Cows like to be milked, it helps them stay healthy. As always, we start our day with milking. On our farm, we also have many other jobs to do each day. Herb, Drew and Carl build all the fencing and maintain everything: equipment, buildings, animals, land and cut firewood , along with many other things. Sarah (Carl’s wife), Renee (Drew’s wife) and myself have our families to keep up with also. We still have to cook meals and keep our homes running, with milking in-between. The weather has been very cold so I have to keep collecting eggs throughout the day or they will freeze. Our children got two baby goats today from a goat farm in central Ohio. The mother would not let them nurse, so the kids have to feed them by a bottle every 3-4 hours a day.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
We take great care to keep the cows udders (the part of the cow where the milks comes from) and all the stainless steel milking equipment clean and sanitized. The milking machines deliver milk directly from the cow to a refrigerated holding tank, where the milk is rapidly cooled. This helps to preserve the freshness and quality of the milk. My kids woke up this morning worried about their baby goats. They feed them around 6:30 am before they get on the school bus. I feed them when they are at school. It’s almost like having a real baby around with feedings every 3-4 hours.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Milk is quickly transported from our farm to a processing plant in a cold tanker truck. It’s like a giant thermos on wheels. Both on the farm and at the processing plant, the milk is tested many times to ensure it is safe for drinking. The cows were milked early today. Herb, Drew and Carl cut wood to clear for a fence row. The boys also worked on some equipment.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Milk is pasteurized to further ensure your milk is safe and healthy. Pasteurization is a heat treatment to kill germs to make milk safe. Then it is put into plastic bottles and other containers that consumers will purchase. Just because it was Saturday, no one gets to sleep in. The cows are always waiting, the chickens are crowing and the baby goats are hungry. Saturday always means basketball games for three of our kids. Trying to get to all of them is not always so easy. Carl always says “The cows always come first.” The cows were milked this morning and evening. During the day, Herb and Drew hauled hay to a hay customer.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
A baby cow is called a “calf.” A calf will weigh around 75 to 100 pounds when it is born. Girl calves are called “heifers” and boy calves are called “bulls.” A calf will grow very fast. A heifer calf is about 2 years old when it gives birth to its own baby calf. After they have a calf, they start to produce milk and are called a “cow.” Sunday was a cold morning. A baby calf was born through the night. The baby calf was put in a special room out of the wind with a heated lamp on her to keep her warm. The cold weather slows the milking down. Every thing takes time to warm up, even us. The area where the cows stand was very slick so we had to put some granular sand down so the cows would not fall. Winter is always a challenge on the farm. Milking was finished and all the chores were done. It was church time.