Rain, hail or shine the milking is a chore that cannot be ignored and if you wish to have a milk cow then this is the responsibility that comes with it. For the first four months after the new calf is born we milk mornings only and let the calf have the evenings milk. After the calf is weaned we milk twice a day, every day.
Annabelle gives around six litres per milking on average. Twelve litres per day give or take a few litres depending upon the season. When the grass is sweet and plentiful due to plenty of good sun and warmth the milk volume rises. On these days Anna will be waiting for us each morning outside the milking shed, her udder drum skin tight and looking forward to being milked.
If the weather has been foul and the grass is sour she will usually still be out in the field. On these days she will be grouchy and needs to be driven into the shed to be milked. Her milk yield drops noticeably too. Long periods of rain and cloudy weather can make the grass "sour off" and become less palatable to cattle. In turn they will consume less and the milk drops off. Dairy farmers hate this sort of weather.
|Both Anna and I off in our own thoughts.|
A cow has to be trained to be milked, it does not just come naturally. To do this we bring her into the milking bales every day of the year for her morning and evening feed. The food she gets, usually some oaten chaff and molasses, is really just a treat so she enjoys milking time. In the bales she learns to stand quietly in position and to not be afraid of being touched.
|The littlest cloud farmer discussing the world with Emily.|