Twice a Day Milking a Once a Day Cow

Miss Becca had her first baby six weeks ago on April 26. She is no trouble to milk, but is really holding her milk back. We have been milking her once a day, and never separating her calf, but she typically has been giving around a gallon of milk. I am getting concerned, wondering why her bag is so full and tight, extended in the back and sides, but after milking a while, I can’t get her to let the rest down.

So I am now milking her twice a day to see if that helps. I got some wonderful advice from wise Michelle from Spirited Rose Farm who has so much wonderful information on Jersey cows. This is her information on edema but I do not think that is what Becca has.

We moved the cows and sheep down the valley last week, so she needs to be milked out in the open instead of in the barn.

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Her udder is very high, and firm.

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and it extends way out in back before she is milked.

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She will stand patiently tied until almost empty, and then I have to move my chair all around, following her, as she is getting bored, and won’t let any more milk down. This morning she stepped with her full weight on my foot. ahhh!

I can’t imagine how Super Woman, who can leap tall buildings with a single bound, can milk out over three gallons by squatting next to her cow. Amazing!

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I begin by cleaning her well with a micro fiber cloth and warm water, massaging well, and then massaging in my “Annabalm” which is lanolin, coconut oil, peppermint essential oil, and tea tree oil.

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Then I strip out some from each teat and begin milking. There is a difference in the way my milkman milks and the way I milk. I try and push up on her udder while I am milking, and also mimic what a calf does by pushing up and rocking her udder now and then to make her let down more.

Here is my “problem.” For the past two days in milking her twice a day, I’ve been getting about 2.5 gallons. Last night I asked Mr. Speedy to come help me, and she only would give him about a cup of milk. ugh. I went back down the valley about an hour later and she gave me a gallon. So I guess I am going to have to remain the milk maid for now, even when he is here. It is a pity, but I guess it takes sensitive hands and listening to what she needs. hmmm.

Anyway, this is what she looked like before milking.

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and as you can see, she really hasn’t dropped much after milking.

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but I can’t get another drop out of her.

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Perhaps she has what is called a meaty udder, which is just high and firm and will soften with age? Or perhaps she will do better when I move her home and try the Surge milking machine on her.

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But for now, all eyes are on 11 or 12 year old dear Annabelle, who is beginning to bag up. Hopefully all her problems of mastitis are over, and that she does not lose her calf again like she did last year.

Even fat, old ladies deserve a little respect as the old udder begins to sag.

Little Faline, who accidentally got bred last year, is also developing a bag, and is due around the end of July.

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Three cows to milk and one twice a day? I sure hope all calves live and that Becca will be once a day.

Do any of you have any thoughts on how to help Becca let her milk down, or should I be worrying at all and her udder looks normal for a first time mom?

6 thoughts on “Twice a Day Milking a Once a Day Cow

  1. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your beautiful cows, to go with the stories. 🙂 Reading the comments makes me remember hearing that some people keep the calf separated except at milking time, so the calf is always hungry when you’re out there wanting to milk mom. I suppose that only works if you’re doing the Twice a day (TAD) milking…. I think some other people will only milk OAD, but will lock the calf up at night, so come morning when you want to milk her, she’ll have a full bag and the calf will be hungry again.

    • Thank you Michelle. I really don’t have the ability to separate Eleanore where the cows are right now, and I don’t really need to. I will be swimming in milk when Annabelle calves, so that is not the issue. I think things will work out with her in time, and the twice a day milking is really helping. 🙂

  2. Oh, this was Deluxe in a nutshell. We had to keep the calf on hand to get her started and then wrestle him off so we could have a turn. This was increasingly more difficult as he got bigger and stronger…and wiser to my game. We would pull him at night so that he was ready to go to work for us in the morning. Have you tried massaging her whole bag with a warm terry cloth? If she is anything like Deluxe, the milk machine will produce poor results, she was much more likely to let down for us after a while and never for the machine. I worried that it would damage her teats if I left it on dry-sucking for too long. You will surely have your hands full with three cows , three calves, and twelve teats!

    • She was in heat yesterday, and milking her twice during that drama was interesting. She seems to be doing well on twice a day milking and is softening more. Luit says that she has a really great udder and that her udder is normal and will grow and soften with her next calf. I agree about the milking machine, but I’ll give it a try when we bring them home.

  3. I have a cow that does that and I let the calf have a few good sucks and the rest flows nicely. Sometimes I have to do it 3 times during a milking. My calves are seperated at night and I milk only once a day. Beautiful cows!!! I too have a heifer bagging up but I have no idea of a due date as I didn’t have her bred 😦

    • Well, that fatso Eleanore is never “in the mood” to drink when I am milking. It is strange though, that Becca will let down for me, at the beginning, to the point of dripping milk before I even tie her up. But then she is empty, and really must have lots more in there. I wish I could get that baby to nurse with me there. Good luck on your heifer! 🙂

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