Have I mentioned how much flexibility you can have when you keep your calf with your milk-cow?
It is a glorious situation.
It is quite simple.
When your cow calves, keep the calf. In the beginning we let them run together 24X7 and milk once a day. When the little guy (or gal) gets bigger and starts drinking all your butter you can separate them so you can have some butter milk. To see how we do it go here.
The wonderful thing about “milk-sharing” with a calf is how much freedom it provides. It is much more than just being able to milk once a day. Not only can you get milk when you want it, your cow also raises your beef for you. Go here to read about that.
By keeping a calf around:
You can milk 5 days a week & take the weekends off.
You can milk 3 days a week & let the calf have the rest.
You can decide you want to sleep in tomorrow.
When Snowmageddon shows up you can stay in the house by the fire for 6 days straight.
When you need to completely change your normal milking schedule, a calf can mean the difference between a mastitis flare-up and it being a non-issue.
Just leave the calf with the cow anytime you don’t want to milk. Our calf is better at milking than I am. Having a calf around is pretty handy.
The other day we needed to leave the house early.
The moon was out. The fields were dark. The cows were asleep.
It is not normal for us to milk in the dark. We usually milk after the sun is up. One of the glorious parts of having your own family milk-cow is the flexibility. You get to decide when you want to milk.
We have some friends who own an organic dairy. They get up to milk their cows around 4:00am. They have over 100 cows to milk every morning, so they need to get an early start.
When you have one (or two) cows you have options.
You can milk at 4. (Ouch)
You can milk at 8.
You can milk at 10.
It really doesn’t matter, you are the boss.
If you are the only one milking your cow (and a calf isn’t helping) you will probably want to be consistent with your milking schedule. Consistency deters icky things like mastitis.
The reason we can change the milking schedule and not be in mastitis-misery is because of the adorable, wonderful calf. He milks the cow for us all day long. A calf provides all sorts of wonderful options that you don’t have when you are alone with a milk-cow.
Our normal milking time is 7:45am. It is perfect (for us). Not too early. Not too late. Plenty of daylight.
Today we needed to leave the house at 8:00. So, we milked at dark-thirty. The cows were confused. They wanted to sleep. They didn’t want it to be milking time yet. Neither did we, but we had things to do. So……
“ROSIE! Milking Time!”
If it were any normal hour, this call would bring 3 trotting cows to the gate in front of the milk-barn. This was not a normal hour.
“ROSIE! Milking Time!”
The calling can go on for anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes depending on how far in the woods the cows are sleeping and how much they want to stay in bed.
Lucky for me, Rosie wasn’t far away and was happy to come in the barn for her spa-treatment.
In this toasty (heated) barn she will get her warm udder bath, a tasty treat, milked, slathered with udder balm (to prevent chapping in the cold) and lots of rubs and love.
Sweet, sweet milk-cow. Oh how I love having milk-cows.
I will get a bucket of fresh, warm milk.
I am on a cream-collecting rampage right now.
I want to make ice-cream ASAP because I am out (recipe for the best raw-milk ice-cream in the world here). Being out of ice-cream does not sit well with me or my 4 children. We have an ice-cream problem. I made some hot-fudge (hot-fudge recipe here) last week and toasted some pecans. Then I ran out of ice cream. I need ice-cream for my hot-fudge and nuts.
I do realize that they sell ice-cream at the store. My children remind me of this fact daily. I won’t buy it. I have a cow. If I didn’t have a cow I would buy ice-cream. Since I have a Jersey Cow- there is just no excuse. Jersey’s are “cream” making machines (more on that here). If I want a bowl of ice-cream – I’m gonna use the cream from my yard. Sorry, kids. You’re gonna have to wait.
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