The Joy of (& Steps to) Using a Bucket Milker
Updated: Oct 3
You do what works for you. Personally, I love my bucket milker. It was worth every shining penny IMO! It's so quick and makes milking a truly painless process. It also makes milking something we can turn over to someone else when we feel in need of a vacation. People who know how to hand milk seem to be few and far between these days.
When using our milker for the first time, we had zero luck finding a blog post or video on how to use these magical machines (from start to finish). This post is dedicated to a previous confused and frustrated self (my own).
Our machine comes from Bob White Milking Systems. We got the complete package. Our system can milk up to two cows at once:
I'll be showing you how to use this exact system. Other milking systems differ.
The pump in our milk room. The one hose & shut off valve goes through the wall to the milking parlor for milking. The other is into the milk room, for the purpose of cleaning the milker.
The other components. The claw, the spring which holds the inline filter in place, and the bucket lid:
The inline filters:
The filter on, ready to be inserted:
The bucket & ice pack from the freezer:
All snapped together, ready to haul out to the milking parlor. The white remote is for turning on the milker from the milking parlor. This was one of my husband's addition to the system, to make it streamlined for us.
I like to haul feed out to her now (reference previous Feeding Your Cow post). Generally, she's out there and just waiting for me to appear! (Or else she's excited about her grain, you decide.) I pour her feed, snap her stanchion closed, and spray her for flies. (In summertime, of course.)
Iodine Teat Dip. This is used to ward off mastitis, and sanitize before beginning the milking process.
Wipe each off with paper towel after allowing it to sit for 30 seconds or so.
Switch on the pump. Turn over the claw, and clamp the four hoses connected to the inflations tight to suction it all off. The pulsator will begin working. It should be pulsating a little more often than once a second. The pressure on the pump gauge should be at 12 -13 pounds. Refer to your manual for instructions on adjusting pressure and pulsation.
Kink the hose closed as you put each inflation on. (By the way, this can be practiced inside before you try using it for the first time on your cow. ) This only gets easier with practice, and the more the hoses get used, the more easily they will kink.
It's on! We have to watch ours, as her teats are small. An inflation can slide off during milking, which is cause for kicking over the bucket (according to our cow). So stick around for the few minutes it takes to milk! She's giving 2 gallons a milking right now, and it takes about 4 -5 minutes from start to finish.
I like to brush her while she's standing here eating, or just sit beside her. It's some of our best quality time.
You'll see the milk lessen through the plastic pipes coming from each hose, and the amount running into the main hose.
When it looks like this, she's done! If in doubt, it's better to over-milk than under-milk. Unless your cow gets uncomfortable. She'll let you know if that happens.
Close the valve on the hose
And pull off the claw. Open the valve again, and hold the hose & claw up so all the milk in the claw and hose can be pumped into the bucket.
Turn off the pump.
And take care of your cow, post-milking!
Teat dip again. Once a day or so, I use Udder Balm on her. You can wipe off the teat dip before using the Udder Balm, or instead wash the udder with a warm rag with a little bleach in it before applying the balm.
Cows are tough, but their udders are not. So take good care of them!
She's good to go! Ana likes to finish finding corn which she's gotten all over the place. She's a very messy eater. After the corn is all picked off the floor, she heads out to take a good long drink from her stock tank.
Unclamp the vacuum hose from the pump line, & head indoors to get your milk cold, and clean up your milker.
Those are the steps to milking with the Nu Pulse from Bob White System! Next time we'll talk about cleaning the milking system. What do you think? Would you rather bucket milk or hand milk?