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GENERAL BOARDS => DAIRY FARM - Equipment => Topic started by: MrsKK on October 26, 2011, 09:24:15 AM

Title: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MrsKK on October 26, 2011, 09:24:15 AM
Warning - it's long!

So, after six months of fiddling around with it, we finally have our machine milker working. Our main issue was electricity - we were running it on the same breaker as the rest of the barn and it was overloading. We tweaked the system and the milker was working, but I took a few days to get the cow used to the noise of the pump running. Then I added in the noise of the milker itself. Finally, I put the inflations on her at the end of milking and got about a cup out of her. She stood really well and I was ready to go to town. The next morning, though, the milker would not develop enough vacuum to even bother putting it on her.

Knowing we still had electrical issues, we were going to run a new electric line and hook it into the same breaker as the clothes dryer, figuring that we don't need to run the dryer and the milker at the same time anyway.

Then it finally dawned on us that we can use the generator to run the milker. The gennie had been in storage for six months, though, and wouldn't work properly. It took another three weeks to get that back. I ran the generator, the pump, and the milker while I was cleaning her up...she was a bit tense and bug-eyed, but I decided to go for broke. All was working well, but then she shifted and the cups fell off. I ended up with half of the milk in the milk can and hand milking the rest. She has one light quarter due to mastitis earlier this year and I think the cup just didn't have enough suction.

I bought an inflation plug for that one and milked her with the machine again yesterday. This time, I got a gallon out of her with the machine and milked one quart by hand. Mostly because I'm not sure when I should take it off. I figure that within a few days we will be old hands at this.
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MK1 on October 27, 2011, 11:05:38 PM
I haven't  much milked much in the past 35 years or so, but we milked 125-135 Jerseys twice a day and it's not too hard to make sure she milked out in all 4 quarters. It's done by feel. My Dad taught me to massage the udders as she was getting near the end and you can feel the udder becoming less and less solid or tight. The massaging also helps her milk out faster. When she's done the udder is completely slack. Just check a few times by leaving her hooked up till you think she's about done, pull the milker off and the give a few pulls by hand to check. You'll have a feel for it pretty quick.
When one udder was bad (mastitis) we'd just give that one cup a twist and tuck it in the other cups hoses to shut off the vacuum.
Just to brag a little, my Dad was an excellent herdsman and breeder. he had the top Jersey herd production average and top Jersey cow in PA for a number of years in the 60's. When I mention I started driving tractor when I was 4, people think I'm story telling. I miss the farm but I can't say I miss milking.

Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MrsKK on October 28, 2011, 09:35:18 AM
Well, this is a cow that has been handmilked for over three years and she's definitely not liking the machine milking.  Yesterday, I only got a half gallon in the tank - after the milk had slowed down and she felt really empty.  I can't see how much is in the tank because it is stainless steel...anyway, once I started stripping her out, all of a sudden she had a lot more milk.  She let down for me!

She's really a stinker.  She's going to get a shot of oxytocin this morning.

I enjoy milking, but will like it better when I don't have to be handmilking anymore.  My wrists are pretty shot.
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: McCreamy on October 28, 2011, 01:11:14 PM
I haven't been on here for quite some time, but MrsKK, I am glad to hear that you are working on the machine milking! It sounds like it was a pretty long process.
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MrsKK on October 30, 2011, 10:24:13 AM
Yes, it was, but good things come to those who wait!
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MK1 on October 30, 2011, 08:57:02 PM
I don't know if this will work because I never had to milk by hand too much but you could set milk a half hour later or so. She might be a little engorged and want to let down a little easier. Who knows?

Good luck,
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MrsKK on October 31, 2011, 07:50:46 AM
Thanks for the suggestion, Mark, but she's 11 months into her lactation and I'm only milking her once a day, getting about a gallon and a quart to a gallon and a half a day.  So it would take at least 12 or more hours "late" before she'd get engorged to that point.

I gave her oxy on Friday and on Saturday, but not Sunday.  She let down for me on Sunday, mostly, so I think we are past that.  Now to get her to just go in the barn without having to chase her!
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: peteyfoozer on November 25, 2011, 02:18:06 PM
I love my belly milker. It took about 3 days for Miss EmmaLouMoo to let down and the day she did my cream line was at the half way mark. Now she lets down and I am getting 3 1/2 gallons each morning with lots of cream. Hope yours straightens out, it sure makes life a lot easier.!!
Title: Re: Converting to machine milking
Post by: MrsKK on November 25, 2011, 06:51:08 PM
Oh she's doing just fine now.  She still is funny about going in the barn and almost always poops as soon as the generator starts up, but my hands and wrists are much better.  Even though she's down to a gallon a day, the extra time it takes to clean everything is still worth it.