We love our milk, and being able to get it each morning fresh from the cow? There's nothing better!
Our milking cow, Miss Jersey, is the hardest working animal on the property - she provides all our dairy (milk, cream, cheese, yogurt), ricotta for the chickens, and, when we have them, 50% of the pigs feed as well as raising a calf each year. She is a pampered princess who expects the best pasture, hay and extra food, but she is definitely worth it!
Miss Jersey started her life on our farm at just under 2 years old. Once she was in calf we spent the months before she had her calf training her for her future as our house cow. She would come to the shed for a feed and brush twice a day so that she became used to being handled and accustomed to the sound of the milking machine. We learnt she hated to have her head locked in. So we don't. She's quite happy to put her head through the bail, have a snack and be milked. As long as we don't close the bail. Seriously, do NOT lock down the bail. She waits by the gate at milking time, and in the evening when it's time to separate her from the calf. She strolls right into the milking shed. She's spoilt and doesn't mind in the least.
This initial investment of time in training was well spent - making her transition into the routine of milking daily very easy. She is currently pregnant with her fifth calf, due September, 2017.
After years of hand-milking we made the change to a milking machine in 2013. Best. Thing. Ever. We love it. Jersey loves it. Milking and machine cleaning is done in about 25 minutes.
After milking Friesian, Black Jersey and Jersey cows - we are a fan of the high butter fat production from the Jersey……and the lattes from the milk……..amazing!