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A Family Milk Cow Contributes More Than Creamy Milk

A family milk cow is a joy to bring home as it becomes a part of the family. Family milk cows are also very useful. They can:

  • Mow the lawn, and
  • Produce good garden fertilizer

All the while these moo-moos generously give nice, creamy milk.

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Family Milk Cow: The Milk Producer

Before you get started on squeezing those teats, you will need:

  • Bag wipes: a rag to wash her bag
  • Small container to put soapy water in: We use about a teaspoon of dawn and about 2 cups of warm water.
  • Disposable teat wipes
  • Strip cup
  • Large milk bucket
  • Strainer
  • Milk jug
  • Disposable filters
  • Bag balm
  • Stool
  • Brush
  • Teat dip

You can by most of these items at Hamby Dairy Supply.

Milking time is very peaceful. The only sound usually heard is the cow chewing her cud and milk streaming into the bucket. Your whole family will enjoy these quiet times out with their cow.

How To Hand Milk A Cow

Milking a cow is easy.

  1. Brush the cow so any loose hair, dust, dried manure, and straw will be removed from her body. This will help keep the milk cleaner.
  2. Wash her bag with soapy water. Pay special attention to the teats and the tip of the teats. Get her nice and clean.
  3. With disposable teat wipes, go over each teat one more time.
  4. Strip each teat by milking about four squirts per teat into a strip cup. Look for mastitis symptoms.
  5. Get a small amount of bag balm and rub it into the palm of your hands.
  6. Begin milking into a clean bucket. Gently pinch your thumb toward your index finger isolating some milk from that quarter, then squeeze it out. This is a gentle process. Keep practicing until you get your own method down. There is a little bit of tugging but don't go over board. You are directing the milk down toward the bucket, not pulling on her teats. Get a rhythm down milking two quarters at a time. Then move on to the other two quarters. The utter is composed of four chambers. You must completely empty each quarter. You will know you are doing a good job when you get a head of foam in your bucket.
  7. Move your bucket to a safe place.
  8. Apply bag balm to any area of her utter that may need it. It works great for any dry areas or any scrapes she may have.
  9. Dip her teats into the iodine teat dip. This prevents bacteria from entering her teats when she is turned back out into her pasture.
  10. Now is a good time to apply fly powder if she needs it.

Family Milk Cow Supplies

Straining The Milk

Bring the bucket in the house. Pour the milk into the strainer. Remove the strainer from the jug and pour the strained milk into glass gallon jars.

Our jersey gives 6 gallons per day at peak. Now she is giving about 2 gallons a day. It takes about forty minutes for each milking. We milk her at 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. every day.

The Benefits Of Milking Your Family Milk Cow

The reward of milking your own milk cow is the rich milk you will collect.

You can make many useful items out of your own milk. Besides milk and cream for drinking, some of these other dairy products you can make include:

  • Soft cheese - Making homemade mozzarella cheese is fun and easy. Make your own by following these simple steps.
  • Hard cheese
  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Soap
  • Yogurt
  • Milk kefir
  • Sour cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Whey

It is very rewarding to make your own dairy products. You will find that dairy products from your own kitchen are more tasty than store bought alternatives.

Family Milk Cow: The Mooing Mower

To assemble your new lawn mower you will need:

  • A chain
  • An animal screw

You will also need to find a place in your yard that needs mowed.

Your cow will do the rest! No need to buy gas for your lawn mower any more!

Mooing On The Job

When your cow is staked out mowing and starts mooing it means: “I need moooved!”

All you need to do is move the screw to a new spot that needs mowed.

Family Milk Cow : The Garden Fertilizer

Even though your cow's manure doesn’t look very appetizing, there are other things that think other wise. Your garden will love this yummy treat! Use this as a fertilizer.

When cleaning up her pen, throw the manure on the garden. Rototill the composted manure into the soil in the spring before planting your garden.

Family Milk Cow : The Care Taking

To take care of your family milk cow, you must:

  • Make sure she is being well fed,
  • A lactating cow needs more fresh water than any other farm animal.
  • Medicate her properly (if needed), and
  • Be sure she is being milked on time and promptly

If your cow does not receive proper care she may become a saucy, mean, no-one-wants-to-be-around cow. And nobody wants that.

Care Taking: Feeding

If your cow is well fed she will be happy and content. To make sure she is being well fed all you will need to do is place a round bale of hay in her pen. Your cow will eat as much as she needs a day.

If your cow's feeder is not big enough to hold a whole round bale, you can grab your pitch fork and hand feed her.

How much to feed her depends on how big your cow is. A small breed like a jersey only needs about a flake of a large square bale twice daily. But larger breeds will eat a little more. You can decide.

Make sure her hay is an alfalfa grass mix.

Feed her a little grain each day while you are milking her. We feed our jersey a quart jar full of sweet cob at each milking. A feed bowl is attached to her station.

Care Taking: Medicating

When medicating, it is important to follow the steps carefully and consult your vet or an experienced farmer if you have any questions. The most common cow illnesses are mastitis, milk fever and nitrate poisoning.

Medicating Mastitis

If your cow has mastitis, you will know because:

  • Her teat will be hot,
  • She will stomp more than usual when that teat is touched, and
  • A butter-like substance and/or blood will float in the milk

To medicate a cow with mastitis, you need to buy a mastitis applicator. You can buy these at most feed stores. To give the antibiotic you need to

  1. Pop off the cap on the medication
  2. Insert the applicator into the teat
  3. Squeeze the applicator
  4. Take the applicator out of the teat.

Follow the directions on the medicine. Do not drink the milk from the treated teat for as long as the package indicates.

Your cow should recover in a few days.

Medicating Milk Fever

Milk fever occurs after a cow gives birth. If your cow has milk fever, she:

  • Will be very shaky and unstable
  • May not stand up

This is very serious. If your cow comes down with milk fever, contact a vet. The vet will treat her with magnesium.

Carefully milk out the colostrum for the calf. When the calf is full, put the colostrum in the fridge.

When the calf is hungry again, warm up the milk. The milk is warm enough when it is room temperature.

Medicating Nitrate Poisoning

If your cow has nitrate poisoning, you will know because:

  • Her bag will be suddenly empty, and
  • She will not eat

This is another illness that is best treated by a vet. This will also be treated with magnesium.

Nitrate poisoning may occur when a cow overeats young grass in the spring. This might occur in a pasture that has standing water in it.

Care Taking: Timely Milking

Milking is a very important part in owning a cow. It's why she's in your yard.


The chances of getting mastitis are higher if you milk only once a day.

You can decide to milk her once a day or twice a day.

Be sure to milk at the same time every day. It's okay to milk an hour before or after your usual milk time. So if you milk at 4:00 p.m. you can milk at 5:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.

Thanks for reading! I hope all the answers to your cow questions are contained in this page! If not feel free to ask them here and I will answer them promptly!

Good luck with your family milk cow!

-Teen A

Your Family Milk Cow Questions

Ask your questions in the form below, and if you have a picture, I want to see it!

If you don't have a question but want to share a story or tip - great! I want to hear about that too!


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