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GENERAL BOARDS => DAIRY FARM - Animals => Topic started by: arifainchtein on November 30, 2010, 09:48:41 PM

Title: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: arifainchtein on November 30, 2010, 09:48:41 PM
I have an east fresian sheep called Josephine who just lambed.  There was a problem with the lamb and now I am trying to milk Josephine.  This is her very first time milking and she is very difficult.  she kicks a lot.  does anybody have suggestions on the best way to ease a new ewe into the whole routine of milking?

Thanks
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: WhiteSageFarms on December 01, 2010, 01:36:27 AM
I've never milked a ewe, just my dairy goats.

My La Mancha was a real kicker,  (I ended up with her because she caused trouble at the dairy with her kicking)

When I first brought her home, I got her up on the stanchion and hobbled her rear legs. She gets her special goat pellets or grain while I'm milking. I used gentle talking & hand on the rump, sort of patting her and moving hand down her thigh and saying " It's ok Paradise, I'm going to milk you now so hold still and don't kick"...Then I sort of gently bump her belly with the edge of my hand, in front of the udder so she knows I'm there... I think it helped calm her down and she doesn't get startled... she got used to this routine after a week or two and pretty much doesn't kick now.

I don't have to hobble her any more. I still use the hand on the rump and thigh and talking... She fusses a little once in a while, but I've learned to read her body movements and pull the bucket away so she doesn't knock it out of my hands or stick her hoof in it. Especially in summer when the flies are landing on her leg when I'm milking she has a reflex kick, so I can't get cranky at her for that, so I use the move the bucket method and curse the flies :-)

~Laurie

 
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Oberhasli on December 01, 2010, 11:29:50 AM
I too have hobbled goats that kick, or if you have someone to help you they can lift one of the rear legs in the air and make it harder for her to try to kick.  But, hobbling would probably be better and would spook her less.  I also learned the hard way to milk into a small container that I can hold with one hand and then transfer that milk to a larger container as I am milking. 

Bonnie
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: spalko on December 02, 2010, 07:33:56 AM
I would not recommend hobbling, I would confine her from the front - iow, put a collar on her and tie her, or use some sort of stanchion for her head.
In a pinch, simply have someone pin her head in the corner of a jug and sit on a milk crate or bucket.
Depending on teat placement this should be easier from behind, but if her teat placement isn't good you may want to sit at her side.
Make sure of two things... most importantly that she isn't by herself.
Much more so than goats, sheep are a flock animal and get stressed easily when alone.
So where ever you are going to milk her, take a buddy and confine the buddy right next to her.
Try to do this is a smallest space you can the first few days.
Second...
Feed them while milking... preferably out of the same bucket/trough so that they have a little competition.
When there are others being milked they will get into the routine in just a day or two.
If she's the first it make take several days for her to settle.

I rarely have kicking problems out of ewes for any length of time.
And they don't bite like some breeds of goats, so feeding them crowded next to each other isn't a problem.

Hope that helps, let us know how it goes.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: lambs.are.cute on October 04, 2011, 09:36:15 AM
Heres what I do when I HAVE to milk my 250+ lb ewe who objects strongly (for obvious reasons I don't milk her very often). I take a very strong halter and tie her to a t-post (part of a fence). make sure she it tied as tightly as possible so her head cannot move. Crowd her to the fence so the side you need to milk is closest to you. If she really struggles have one person at her hip and one at her shoulder to hold her in place. Use a small bucket (I used a plastic drinking glass) that you can empty into a larger container out of the ewe's range. If you have the person at her hip put their leg infront of the ewe's leg and gently push it back it's harder for her to kick.

Most ewes will settle down after a few milkings and you can soon get rid of the people holding and actually use a stool and bucket.

Good luck!
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: elkato on December 24, 2011, 12:34:57 PM
I am also new at milking, I have a 12 sheep milking parlor that holds the heads of the sheep while they can eat grain, when I had only four ewes to milk, instead of turning on the machine I milked them by hand. at first they would kick and fight but with a few days they would voluntarily go to get their grain, I learned that if you stress them or fight with them they wont release the milk, so in short milking by hand is easy, all ewes even the kickers eventually get calmer but you need a head restraint and you need to stress them as least as possible, good luck!
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Shadeydaze on February 07, 2012, 10:41:32 PM
Has anyone used a Henry Milker...I was having a look at how to milk ewes - plan on doing this at the end of this year (so I like to plan ahead  :D)...anyhoo saw this and wondered how easy they are to use would be interested if anyone has used one because I will have to ship it from the US so don't want to waste money.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Oberhasli on February 09, 2012, 11:47:34 AM
Shadeydaze,

Is that the hand held milker that some fellow invented from Alaska?  I have seen it advertised, and also one called E-Z milker.  I have read bad things about the E-Z milker.  In fact if you google those products, you can usually find a website that has testimonials about the product.  The E-Z milker had bad reviews because of the suction it applies to the teat.  The Henry Milker is more adjustable, I believe, and they did have a money back guarantee.  Don't know if that helps.  My husband was interested in buying one to use for milking goats, while I am away, but we never bought one.  Too many questions, too expensive. 

Good luck with your search.

Bonnie
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Shadeydaze on February 10, 2012, 03:23:26 PM
Thanks Bonnie ...I had a look at the E-Z Milker but really didn't like the look of it - thought the Henry Milker looked a bit more gentle. I've got plenty of time so I think I will keep looking around and see what else I can find out about it...failing that looks like I will be hand milking  :)
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Tiarella on August 12, 2012, 12:35:56 PM
ShadeyDaze,
I've used a Henry Milker and it's my everyday Milker for 5 goats now.  You can make your own for a bit cheaper but it's the pump that's expensive to find; at least a reliable one and you also need a jar lid with two inlets for the tubing.  it consists of a small vacuum pump of the type used to vacuum brake fluid out of brake lines.  The important part is the pressure gauge so that you can avoid using too much pressure.  I really like it for keeping the milk clean and ease of us with small teated animals and those not used to being milked.  I also like that I can take it into a kidding pen and use it with a doe without taking her away to milking stand.  That can be helpful with births of quads where one isn't doing well enough to nurse and get it's own colostrum. 
I had a friend with a Henry Milker and the pump stopped working.  He refused to replace it saying it was only meant to be used on a couple of goats for a year but he sure doesn't say that online.  Many of the brake line pumps I found whe looking for a replacement got horrible reviews but there is one by Actron that is brass and a rebuild kit is available through the company for $2.50.  I haven't received mine yet but my friend has one and says it's stiffer to use but that he's getting used to it.  A reviewer on Amazon likes it and uses it for their Henry Milker. 
Oh, and the new Henry Milker does both sides at once.  Contact me if you want any more of my experience.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Shadeydaze on August 26, 2012, 12:14:44 AM
Sorry haven't been here for a while  :-[

Thank you so much Tiarella for your experience with the Henry Milker..I am seriously considering the Henry Milker as a starter just to see how my girls go with it (my Gotland girls will be having their babies around Nov / Dec - which is late in NZ but I prefer to lamb in late spring early summer as I'm not sending them to market so it's warmer for the lambs).

Will get back to you to pick your brains I'm sure  :)
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Tiarella on August 26, 2012, 06:37:22 AM
Feel free to send a pm  (private message) if you don't hear back from me.  I definitely could write a manual on that milker!  This is the replacement pump I've bought but not started using yet. 
http://www.amazon.com/Actron-CP7830-Hand-Vacuum-Pump/dp/B0009XQUK2/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341055390&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=MiniVac+handheld+vacuum+pump (http://www.amazon.com/Actron-CP7830-Hand-Vacuum-Pump/dp/B0009XQUK2/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341055390&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=MiniVac+handheld+vacuum+pump)
I think it is built to last and you can buy a rebuild kit from the company for $2.50 so it doesn't have to be thrown away if it stops working.  I think the Henry Milker site might only sell his special jar lids to those who have ordered the whole milker from him before so you'd have to find someone to get one of those for you but other than that and needing the teat cups  (which are dosing syringes without the needles and can be gotten from a vet probably) and tiny cleaning brushes you can assemble one yourself for about $82 rather than $150.   I have found replacement tube fittings and tubing, likely from the same place he gets them.  I would never sell the pumps because it's his invention and he deserves to profit from it but I will buy the parts to fix up  mine and get new clean parts.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: proturf on February 23, 2013, 11:27:03 AM
I have not milked sheep for dairy purposes but having raised sheep over several decades have had to milk sheep from time to time for various reasons.  On thing I have noticed (compared to goats) is that their teats seem to be much more sensitive.  I have had sheep jump/kick like a wild-Banshee and then using a little bag balm on the teats for lubrication eased their discomfort and reduced the kicking/jumping.

Pls post a follow up as to how things have turned out with your breaking in this ewe.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Tiarella on February 23, 2013, 12:49:21 PM
I have not milked sheep for dairy purposes but having raised sheep over several decades have had to milk sheep from time to time for various reasons.  On thing I have noticed (compared to goats) is that their teats seem to be much more sensitive.  I have had sheep jump/kick like a wild-Banshee and then using a little bag balm on the teats for lubrication eased their discomfort and reduced the kicking/jumping.

Pls post a follow up as to how things have turned out with your breaking in this ewe.

I'm confused about why you need lubrication on the teats.   Are you sliding the fingers down the teat to express the milk?  I've been told that creates damage.  My goats are not so happy with their teats being touched at first and I think that might be partly about the newness of it and a protectiveness about the food supply that their babies rely on.  As others have said, they get used to it and happy to accept he grain.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: proturf on February 23, 2013, 02:33:32 PM
No.... not sliding on the teat unless/in case needing to express some clotted milk/mastitis.  But even using a standard hand milking/squeezing action, the bag balm seems to alleviate some sort of irritability factor.  Maybe it is just to reduce friction from rough hands....not sure, but it has helped me.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Tiarella on February 23, 2013, 02:59:24 PM
Thanks for explaining.  We just started with another use for Bag Balm and that's to help keep the Henry Milker teat cup tightly air-sealed when milking during the end of the lactation when the udder isn't as full.  I just smear a tiny bit around the rim to help it seal.  Especially helpful if there's any chapping of the udder that is causing more air leaks.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Wendy on February 23, 2013, 03:55:36 PM
A good thing to try on a new milking animal that may have a congested bag (udder), is a very warm compress before milking.  This really helps  the milk that has congested be less painful. And is much easier to milk out.    Remember to dry the udder off before milking.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Woolie on February 23, 2013, 10:25:20 PM
I have a Dorper ewes and I find that bag balm works wonders.  I have read that there are ingredients that sooth and help open up the udder.  I also think that massaging it on before helps relax the ewe and gets them to relax.  I also massage the udder then almost all the milk has been milked out.  My ewe has really calmed down and now seems to enjoy it.  She's also a kicker and I milk into a small bowl with a handle and transfer it into a mason jar.  Even though she's really good now, it helps to be on the safe side.  I find that it also helps that she can see her lamb.  Stripe is extremely maternal and if her baby is in sight she is much calmer.  Dorper's have extremely strong mothering insticts so she worries if she can't see her baby.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: proturf on February 24, 2013, 07:19:30 PM
I know this is drifting off of the thread topic......  but, take a look at this photo and tell me if this is really the looks of a "Dorper"?  It looks like a cross with Texel and then backcrossed into Dorper.  I know that the Dorper around here don't look like that anyway!!!!

Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: snofields on February 25, 2013, 12:28:53 PM
I have found breaking down the milking in to small training steps to be helpful.  First, ewe comes in to milk parlour for grain, then she has to get into position with headlock for grain, next I touch bag and teats while she eats.   My first milking is short, maybe 1/4-1/2 of her milk.  I try to quit before she gets nervous or agitated, but I don't release her till she stands quietly if she gets jumpy.  This sounds like a long process but takes a week or less and the ewes are very comfortable with being milked.  Like training any animal, teach one short thing at a time.
Title: Re: how to milk a new ewe
Post by: Woolie on February 26, 2013, 04:54:26 PM
Proturf, that looks like a purebred or full blood Dorper.  Since the ram is shaved, I doubt anyone would go to the trouble  to do it unless it was a show sheep.