Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Milky Milky Time

Yes, the 1952 Surge Milker has been serviced with new parts from Hamby Dairy Supply and is ready to go. I kind of think the old contraption is like my truck--parts are cheap and it keeps on ticking. As you can see, I'm down to milking one teat on my two-teated Jersey. Make fun of me all you want, but there's a healthy bull calf in the barn (for the uninitiated, that will bring about 160 pounds of delicious veal) and I'm getting 17 pound of milk (8.33 pounds of milk per gallon) out of a single quarter....do the math. As of today, the milk is good to go "in the tank" as they would say in a regular dairy.
So, just how do I know the milk is ready for personal consumption? Sure, there are LOTS of people who like colostrum, but capilary bleeding...I'm with Mel...that's just plain gross. The bull calves can have the "strawberry milk." YUCK! But what do we have here? All the 'goodies' that go along with good udder health. First, there is the CMT paddle (aka California Mastitis Test). It lets you know when the Somatic Cell Count (SCC) is high by getting 'snotty' when you add the reagent to fresh milk out of the teat on to the paddle. Today, mine came back clean so I'm good to go for drinking, butter, creme fraiche, etc. I credit a speedy recovery from calving to the Udder Comfort, which I pay $25 for a tube. It has essential oils that help reduce inflamation. You know Emma must be special if I spend that kind of money on her udder and I cringe at spending more than $5 for the cream that goes on to my face. Teat dip is another essential for milking, regardless if you are doing one or a thousand cows.
For those of you who are family milkers or want to leave the calf on the cow, this is the difference between the favored teat and those to milk. As you can see, the calf teat is squeaky clean, while there is crud on the the lower and hind quarter. While the calf is on, I'm down to milking a single quarter, but it's worth it.
17 pounds of milk out of single quarter with once-a-day milking. Works for me. By the way, I ran the numbers from Emma's last lactaion. Out of her two functional quarters, I got 6, 136 pounds of milk out of which I made 244 pounds of butter, had fresh milk & cream to drink for nearly 330 days, had significant supply of real buttermilk (pancakes, salad dressing, drinking etc.), made creme fraiche and fed the excess buttermilk & skim milk back to the veal calves to create some awesome meat. Family cows ROCK!!!


  1. This makes me much more interested in getting my own cow to go with horses, ducks and chicken. I always thought it took a lot more equipment to milk a cow or do it by hand. I have milked goats before by hand and it was a pain. I really like the splitting milk producation with the calf. It probably is a lot less work than hand feeding them. You just got me looking more into getting a cow again. I thought about it a few years ago, but looked through the catalogs and got cold feet when seeing the price tag on all the stuff that went with milking.

  2. WOW! I am very impressed and very envious of teh butter I don NOT get from my goats! nice job!