In field milking

ohiogoatgirl

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Has anyone trained their animals to stand for milking in the field? It's common pastoral painting for a cow to be simply tied to the post and milk there in the pasture. I've milked goats for years and milked one of my sheep one year. Going to be visiting a friend who has dexter cows about getting a few to start with. Since I've always milked in a stand in a barn I understand how training works. I'm wondering how the training would need to be different milking in the pasture? I won't really be giving feed to the whole herd/flock so I'm thinking I'll have to train the cow to let me milk without any feed bribery... Or small feed bribe and walk the cow to the corner of the section to keep the other animals from trying to steal it.. Or training the cow to be moved to the new section first (or last) to be away from the other animals and let me milk...

I'm expanding my pasture rotation and it would not be feasible at all to walk across many acres to the current grazing, walk the cow to a stanchion way back by the house, walk the cow all the way back to the current grazing, then walk myself back to the house! Nope! I wouldn't want to do that across a few acres, let alone the area I'll be covering moving the animals every day or two.

Thanks!
 

Kusanar

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I don't have any milking animals, but I would imagine it wouldn't be any worse than training a horse to stand for fly spray or similar while in the field.

If I were to try it, I would use the following steps.
1) halter break the cow and get her good at standing still when told to.
2) Teach the cow to tie or even ground tie (where you drop the rope to the ground and the animal just stands "tied" to the ground)
3) have another person hold the cow while you milk the first several times and to stand on the opposite side from you (you are sitting on the cow's left side while milking, they would stand at the right shoulder)
4) have the assistant available but standing back, either tie the cow to something or ground tie her and try to milk, if she moves too much, bring the assistant in to correct.

I would use treats throughout this process. Possibly put a feed bag on her that you can drop treats into as a reward (rather than getting your hands slimed trying to hand them to her) or you could even feed grain in the bag while you milk if that works better for you.

I'm thinking that once she gets the routine down, you should be able to catch her, tie her, give a treat, milk 2 quarters, give a treat, milk the other 2 quarters, give a final treat and release her.
 

Mini Horses

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The issue is not the one you milk but, others in the field. No treats as others will want. Goats are worse! I assume only one to milk? Let's face it, milk is heavy to carry. A cow will give a couple gallon or more at each milking. One being milked regularly will be more than ready to supply.
 

ohiogoatgirl

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Thanks. Yes I'd only be milking one. At least for the foreseeable future I won't needs tons of milk. Dexters are dual purpose and aren't high producers. Seems to vary from half gallon to three gallons per day. But lots of people seem to calf share so they are only milking once a day. I haven't decided yet, have to see what is the best option when I get to that point.
I drink plenty of milk and make butter and yogurt. I'm novice cheese maker and doing more cheese would be fun. But covering my milk and butter would be great. Excess can go to the pigs.
 

Mini Horses

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Dexter's and Devon's are some I've heard to be good dual purpose, as well as a slightly smaller animal. True, less milk quantity produced, making them good for family use.

I'd love a cow for the butter from cream. I can make butter from my goat milk but not as tasty as cow milk, IMO. But otherwise, prefer my goats as dairy animals. The milk and cream is delish, cheeses great. Plus a smaller animal, less feed and pellets more manageable than pod plops. ;) I'll envy you your butter.
 

Baymule

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What about a small pen in each pasture? That would solve a lot of problems, such as confinement, treats and a little feed. Cow panels are my go-to for quick, temporary pens. Hog ringed together and posted with T-posts with half a cow panel for a gate, works wonders! If you place it in a corner, it would only take 2 1/2 panels. Or sink a few posts and put up some wire, it doesn't have to be big.
 

ancient

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Well, I've been waiting 4 years now for my husband to make me a milk stand. We have a small barn as well so I can't really milk in there without the other does interfering. So I simply place a feed bucket on the outside of the does pen/run. The does naturally line up outside the barn door in their natural order ,they one at a time go to the fees bucket and I tie them to the fence(don't usually even need to but once in a while a doe will get the smart idea to run off) . Milk them,walk them back and the next doe is waiting her turn
 

farmerjan

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I have hand milked a cow in the field many times over the years. It does have to do with the other animals as much as anything. One cow would just stand like she was "dozing off" .... one I tied...... One would stand anywhere as long as she got grain.... one would be very content with just a leaf of alfalfa hay to munch on.
The cow's disposition is the biggest thing after taking care of outside interference by other cows. They will get in a routine and many will be just fine. Gotta find the ones that have a good attitude towards being milked.
But you have to make sure that they are not being harrassed during the milking or you will wind up with a very unhappy cow and an overall bad experience.
 
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