About Milking Cows vs Goats

So I have had four milk cows at this time, all Jerseys. I hand milk and have hand milked them all. I can tell you there are worlds of difference in milking a cow vs a goat. I am a goat person through and through, I have found my passion for life with them. Cows on the other hand, not so much. They are not as personal, they are not as smart, and cows are more prone to pee or poop while you are in the middle of trying to milk them while they are settling in. Anyway, goats are generally not ever going to pee on the milk stand unless something is really wrong. They hardly ever poop on the milk stand either, and the times I have had this happen were with very first timers entering the milk room with their babies left in a stall screaming for mamma and she is resisting and rather freaked out. After about three days of this they usually settle right down and look forward to there new feeding place and poop on the stand no more. I have also noticed that anytime you want to do anything with a goat and they are laying down, let them go to the bathroom before you allow them into the milk room, because almost every time they get up from laying down they will poop within one minute, and usually do it twice at that. Use common sense here and make sure they are finished before you let them enter the milk room. I do think cows are similar in this but maybe not as fast at getting on with it and getting done. Now, one of my cows came to me kind of trained to milk but not to a stanchion. The other was not trained but was however easy to train and did not seem to mind being milked, but she did hold milk for a while. The first couple times I tried she wasn’t giving anything up and I was very disappointed. It was not until her calf had been sold for three weeks that she started giving us more cream as well. My goats are very sociable and look for me to go sit on the log where they gather round and want me to pet them and be loved on, very fun for me. Cows are much more prone to lift up there leg and have all the milk ruined with one wrong move of their back leg to shift their weight, usually only until they get used to things though. Goats can me milked out much faster and as long as they are not a first freshener in training they are not bad about moving. If they do happen to move and you are on guard you can grab their leg and stop the movement. I can easily milk out my goats before they finish their food, I surely can not do this with the cows. Much to my surprise the cows teats are generally smaller and harder to wrap your hand around than goats teats. I have one cow with ideal teat placement and the other one has teats that are a little far apart for me. It is my plan to only keep heifers with teat placement ideal for hand milking, and I suggest if you are on the search for a home milk cow that you keep this in mind. I highly recommend that if you are going to buy a cow for hand milking that you milk this cow yourself before you buy it in the same way that you plan to milk it at home. This will allow you to see temperament, orifice size, which way the milk squirts, how long it takes you to milk the cow, ect. I would also suggest collecting a milk sample and making sure it is free of mastitis first as well, especially the contagious kind. I know from experience that I prefer the does born here to ones that I have bought, they are much more sociable towards me and even other people. Goats are much easier to handle because they do not weigh much more than me, but cows are much more difficult to manage if they do not want to cooperate. Training our cows to come into out milk stanchion was a big deal and my husband had to use his strength to accomplish this. They never would have went in if he had not been able to help me. He helped me for about a week before they would go in on their own. Now they go in easily, but it was a very frustrating ordeal at first. My goats usually only take one feeding on the milk stand and are ready to go back from then on. But keep in mind, I will not and do not own any goats that are unfriendly and hard to work with. I am big on breeding for good temperament among all the other things. The shear hand strength it takes to milk a cow is unknown by most. When you start milking, your hand muscles will hurt and cramp and you will not like building up this hand strength but you will get there. I like that I was used to milking goats before I had to milk a cow because even though you do have to go through a hand hurting phase it is not near as hard or painful as cow hand milking. I would simply much rather milk 10 or more goats than one cow, but then I would not be able to make butter, bummer. Also keep in mind if milking cows or goats, you really need a descent size orifice to make milking easy and comfortable. Small orifices will cause the strongest hand muscles to hurt and cramp for days, just do yourself a big favor and sell these animals as brood stock. By the way for those not familiar with anatomy of dairy animals the orifice is the hole at the end of the teat where the milk squirts out of. Teat size and placement and orifice size should all be huge considerations for anyone raising dairy animals for milking purposes. On another note goats are very clean compared to cows. Goats do not like mud, muck, or to be wet what so ever. Cows on the other hand will muck up land after a good rain then lay right in the mud and their freshly laid big pile of manure as well. You have to therefore clean a cows udder before milking her much more thoroughly and it takes more time. Goats poop in little pebble type balls that are not mushy and even if they lay in it, it will not be all over them when they get up. Goats are also much easier on the land and do not muck up the land near as badly.

Update as of October 11,2019, I no longer have my Jerseys and will simply be milking goats and keeping the cows only for meat supply.

1 thought on “About Milking Cows vs Goats

  1. Pingback: About Milking Cows vs Goats | dancingspiritfarmdotcom

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