Milking Dexters by Carol Koller
Milking my Dexter has been a learning experience to say the least!! I'd never had
a cow before and certainly never milked anything. When our first calf arrived, she
was left with Mom for the first week, the calf was strong and feeding well, so my
milking got underway.
I had decided that I wanted to share with the calf as I didn't want to commit to
milking twice a day and seven days a week to start with. Now sharing with a small
40 pound calf is one thing, but sharing with a 200 pound plus calf makes for some
nimble footwork and some hysterically funny moments.
There is no way you can share with a calf and put a bucket under the cow and milk
like you see in the movies, it just doesn't work. If you've never seen a calf feed
before you won't believe the amount of saliva and slobber it creates, the saliva
ends up on and in everything. You may also not be aware that a calf bunts it's
mothers udder with it's head to stimulate the Mom into letting down her milk for
said calf. Now this bunting the udder from a small calf is hardly noticeable.
However, when you are one side and a 200 pound calf is the other side bunting,
Mom can only go one way, and it's your way! You go on your butt and generally
milk goes on you, and that's where being nimble comes into play and also another
reason that you don't put the bucket under the cow! In the end that calf becomes
just way to quick and way to big to be sharing at the same time as you are milking,
so I would take my milk from 2 quarters and then let the calf in to get it's share
and finish up anything left in my side.
Milking should be fun, not a chore, and that's why I shared with the calf, If I
needed to go out then the calf took care of milking for me. My cow took to the
routine easily, the calf grew well still getting Mom's milk and we had our share.
If you plan on milking your Dexter try and make sure you buy one from a Line that
has good milkers in its pedigree, not all Dexters are created equally in that
department, I have heard that some have only given a quart a day, so do your
homework. My girl I estimate (remember I share with a calf) gives a good 2 +
gallons a day.
Please also remember that if you are looking for a milk cow that it has taken
someone many years of raising and training to get her to that stage, so the price
that is being asked for her will be relevant.
You often see goat milk soap for sale, so I decided that Dexter Milk Soap would
be just as good, and it was!!
A big hunk of Dexter butter goes
nice on some homemade bread!!!