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 Milking systems for one or two cows?

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happyfarmwife Posted - Aug 03 2015 : 8:04:24 PM
Wondering how many people would like to have a one or two cow milking system? We have acquired quite an assortment of milking equipment and can put together two or three complete systems with a belly milker and vacuum pump. Wondering if anyone might be interested and what you feel would be a fair price for a rebuilt pump and fully restored bucket milker with new inflations and hoses. It would be adjusted and tested and ready to milk.....
Looking for suggestions and ideas on what you feel is a must haves.
Please feel free to ask questions.....
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 24 2016 : 7:49:31 PM
Wouldn't it be nice to have a stainless steel sink like Mary Jane? Comes in handy for new born calves too, I see! Excellent idea.
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 24 2016 : 7:46:47 PM
I wanted to say, thank you for all your help and photos. Ken especially appreciates all the photos and discussion. He used all of the photos of the head stanchion(s) you have, so that he could design one for our small barn. Soon, I'll post a few photos of our milk parlor construction.

Work is going very slowly (not finished yet, believe it or not). We also think that a platform would be nice, because our little cow (Little Bit) is a miniature and we aren't getting any! The platform may come a little later, along with a few other things. My only one complaint with this whole milk parlor thing is, now that we are using the tool shed for a milk parlor where do we put all the tools and things? Ha ha ha! I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Well, this is how it is. We have so much going on at the homestead, meat bird chickens, bees, hens, turkeys, garden, pasture, etc., so it's been tough for Ken to get this construction task done, with his full time job in Boston. A homestead is hard work and somewhat time consuming, but we wouldn't have it any other way! Cheers everyone and thank you, once again.
maryjane Posted - Jul 13 2016 : 12:54:06 PM
And here's the sink I purchased:
maryjane Posted - Jul 12 2016 : 5:29:58 PM
I had our local machine shop cut and weld the stainless steel sink. On the raw edges after cutting, he welded a 1/2 rod to it.

I will try to find the info on the particular sink I bought.
koverfelt Posted - Jul 12 2016 : 4:45:13 PM
Here's a link to the original post (with photos) about the side rail.

And here's a link with detailed measurements on how to make the side rail.
txbikergirl Posted - Jul 12 2016 : 3:50:18 PM

she has the sidbar specs here on HJO somewhere so you can do a search. or perhaps some brave soul will speak up.

and i have to admit, that sink adaption is just impressive. GREAT idea that i so want to steal!
GingerBKelly Posted - Jul 12 2016 : 1:41:57 PM
I also have one other question. Where can I find the sidebar that is in your milk parlor, Mary Jane? Where did you find this and what it is called. Maybe you know what I'm talking about, the swinging hinged sidebar with the little wheel. This is the bar you attached the hobble to for little Etta, in the Milk Cow Kitchen book. (shown on pages 238-239) We aren't trying to re-invent the wheel here. If your methods work, Mary Jane, we are trying to copy what we can. How would I search for a bar like this, what sort of search terms would I use or what type of farm supply store would have one of those. Maybe you made yours? I'm not sure. Anyway, I'd love to have one if at all possible.
GingerBKelly Posted - Jul 12 2016 : 10:32:59 AM
BTW: Grandchildren and bees! Excellent combination! I love honeybees! Good for you, MJ!
GingerBKelly Posted - Jul 12 2016 : 10:31:07 AM
O WOW!!!! I am so happy for your response, Mary Jane and Cindy. I love the photos! I will show my husband, right away. I'm sure he will get it when he looks at these. We are a little bit late, but better late than never on the milk parlor- shed concept for our little homestead. Yesterday, I expressed some milk from Little Bit's teats, she was tickly and danced around a bit. Hopefully, we both shall iron out the rough edges and commence to milking! I can't wait. BTW: Mary Jane - I LOVE the half sink idea. Perfect! How did you cut the sides and how did you keep the metal from having sharp edges? (Me thinks we might need a cutting torch/welder one day, around! I think every farm needs one of those and a handy dandy person to operate it!) Thank you again, I'll check again on this forum as soon as I can. I raise my glass of milk to you all!
maryjane Posted - Jul 11 2016 : 9:11:49 PM
Oh joy. We upgraded my 2003 Outlook and "supposed to work" is now a moving target. Anyway, I typed up a long description and then POOF, gone.

Here are my photos at least. I'm gonna say no two head locks are the same. If there is something in particular you want me to measure, let me know. The bottom bolt on mine has been changed a couple of times to accommodate bigger cows. I've also created a couple of different length lock bars for the top for different cows.

And my latest invention, a stainless steel sink with one side removed and a piece of corian cut to fit in the bottom. It's easy to clean (just lift the corian out) and the sides are so high I never have food on the floor anymore.

txbikergirl Posted - Jul 11 2016 : 5:57:09 PM

i grabbed a few photos of ours while outside in the summer kitchen tonight.

first here are two photos, one with the stanchion "closed" as if the cow was in it and one with the stanchion "open" as if the cow is free. note that with the "closed" picture the two vertical boards are leaning towards each other and locking the cow from moving its head back. in the "open" photo the boards are apart so the cow can go in/out the stanchion.

the thing keeping the boards from being open/closed are little blocks of wood. i'll show those later.

note that t he only place the vertical boards are attached are with bolts at the bottom - so they pivot open/close on those bolts.

now here are those blocks that facilitate the open/close positions of the vertical boards. i am short, so needed handles on them to reach up and put them in/out of position. essentially the top of the blocks are just the same wood pieces used to make the stanchion, and the bottom pieces are the same exact space as the width of the boards at the top so that they nestle inside for a good fit when the cows are moving around.

now for those same open/close positions up close so you can see the blocks in action.

the only thing i would change on mine is the food box in the front. if you look in the first photos, it isn't as wide as the stanchion. lover boy kept telling me it was big enough, and i wanted it as wide as the stanchion and a bit deeper. guess what? those cows that aren't supposed to reach outside the box - they do. of course the farm girl just knew it would happen. so a bit bigger on sides and front and they wouldn't put their head up and when looking around at the view drop their food on the ground. isn't a huge deal, i have a dedicated little hand broom to pick it up - but at some point we'll change it.

sorry, no measurements. if maryjane can't give you some i'll try to update tomorrow night.
maryjane Posted - Jul 11 2016 : 11:42:01 AM
I'll grab some photos for you when I have more than two shakes of a lamb's tail:) My grandgirls and I are about to suit up in our bee suits to check on our bees.
GingerBKelly Posted - Jul 11 2016 : 10:13:45 AM
Anyone? I have a question I think this is for MaryJane (I hope you see this). How does the head stanchion work, in your Milk Cow kitchen book, (shown by your milking 238-239)? My husband, Ken, is building a smaller version of a milk parlor now. We can't wrap our head around the concept of the wooden head stall stanchion to secure the cow's head, because we've never seen one before outside of your book and internet photos. How does it work? How tall is it? What dimensions should he make one to fit Little Bit's head (she is 42'' at the withers)? I also was wondering, Mary Jane, how did the solar Ultimate EZ Milker work out for you?
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 08 2015 : 12:33:58 PM
Very good exchange of information! Thank you everyone!

Cindy, I will not be milking until the early summer, "Lord willing and the creek don't rise."

We only have one miniature jersey heifer, at this point, and our milking parlor is actually a small shed with attached two stall mini-barn (a work in progress and yet to be outfitted). I am gathering up all the information I can to make a wise decision about a milking system, when the time comes.

Maybe I'll ask for a milking machine for a Christmas gift from Santa (Santa Ken)! Why not? He's always at a loss as to what to get for me for a gift that I would really appreciate and love. A milking machine would be my kinda gift!
happyfarmwife Posted - Sep 05 2015 : 3:21:41 PM
When you look at purchasing a milking system, there are lots of different options. Look at what FITS your needs! For one or two little cows and no time pressure for milking and if cost is a major concern, then the EZ milker may be the perfect fit for you. There is another similar system called Henry Milker that works on the same principal while using a traditional caning jar for the milk receiver vessel.

Are you creative/handy with tools and can follow basic information and willing to put your brain to a test? Here's a homesteader who put together a complete pulsator milking system for goats for about $500 including the vacuum pump. I'm sharing here because they have some really great close up photos of the automatic valve from Parts Department.

Somewhere in my computer files, I have a document that shows how to build your own EZ type milker system with parts and pieces from the hardware store and the auto parts store. Called The Henry Milker, total cost not including the vacuum pump is somewhere around $100. But it's not for the average cow requires a high degree of skill and a creative ingenuity and a lot of tools most of us do not own.

We have traditional Surge milk buckets that are 30-40 even 50+ years old and are still 100% functional. In use daily, twice a day milking 10-20 cows per bucket per day. SO the expense of that piece equipment has paid for itself in the first year or so of use. I have one old Surge bucket that I keep just because of it's age that was last rebuilt in 1955! Now how old is it to be last rebuilt 60 years ago?

What works best for our needs may not be the best for your needs. It's interesting for me to see the people on this forum using the EZ milker that are totally happy with the system. As I posted earlier every single person in my circle of friends that started with an EZ have moved to a pulsator system with the exception of the lady that uses her EZ on horses.

Great exchange of information.....
txbikergirl Posted - Sep 05 2015 : 1:38:17 PM
miss ginger, i may have missed on another post but will you be milking soon? i wasn't sure if you had a dried off cow now, or had not yet had a cow have a calf so this would be your first rodeo.

hopefully you read my review of the EZ Milker that was tagged onto Mary Jane's review thread. at this point i am a "beginning" milker in that i have a little training and real world experience under my belt, but now need to start doing it as a daily routine to flesh out all the nuisances and to truly speak from a point of experience.

but one reason i wrote my thoughts as a newbie, and will update again later when i have daily experience, is i felt that a lot of people in my same shoes might also have concerns about cost, cleaning, and ease of use. i am frugal, but not to the point of being cheap - i just don't want to waste money, but i'll shell out for something that will last forever. and i HATED the thought of using a milk machine, i prefer old world methods around our farmstead... but the reality was that i knew i couldn't hand milk.

this machine was so easy, and clean up was nothing. i am one of those people that would literally rather hand milk for 45 minutes if i could only clean up for 5... if i have to machine milk for 5 and spend even 25 minutes cleaning a machine it will strip the process of ALL enjoyment for me. this EZ milker is so fantastic, you can relax while you milk as the bottles are emptied every few minutes or so, and cleanup really is like 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after.

i'll share more once i am milking daily October forward.. can't wait to see how it all plays out for you. and the customer service it out of this world. truly. if you are interested just call buck and chat. don't even buy anything. he'll answer all your questions and will be a pleasure for you to chat with.
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 6:46:25 PM
Thanks, CloversMum. I'm glad the Ultimate EZ Milker has a knock out pot.

I'm pretty sold on the Ultimate EZ Milker, at this point. Spending over a thousand dollars for a milker machine doesn't make much sense to me in our situation, quite honestly. The EZ Milker is half the cost of all the others.

It's important for us to keep costs down, (like way down), not only for ourselves, but for the example we set for others. I really appreciate the idea of doing things frugally, regardless of how much money we make. I also never want to turn off anyone, especially my own children, by the idea of maintaining a costly backyard cow operation.

We are getting ready to go to the Woodstock Dairy Show, in Woodstock CT. I bet there are a lot of shows going on now. My friend Krisanne is showing her dairy cattle, tomorrow. I probably will not be posting much, this Labor Day Weekend (got tons to do). Thanks for this info. It is all so very helpful!

I'd like to see some posts about others going to Dairy Shows. Hint hint!
NellieBelle Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 09:12:49 AM
I never commented because the Ultimate EZ milking machine is all I've ever used other than hand milking. I absolutely love the EZ milker, easy to clean, easy to use. No problems with it what so ever, and like Charlene said the customer service is outstanding. When I was milking both cows at one time I had no problems as when I finished with one cow I would just move over and milk the next cow, using different bottles. If I were milking several cows I might consider something different. I wouldn't have a problem milking 4-5 cows using the Ultimate EZ. Love the information happyfarmwife is sharing, as well as all the milking machines MaryJane has shared, so we have the option of looking into and reading more about it. Thanks everyone! Wonderful group.
CloversMum Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 08:36:33 AM
Just wanted to chime in quick-like and say that the EZ milking machine does, indeed, have a "knock-out pot" and, unfortunately, I have used it a couple of times this week as I'm getting used to milking Clover. It totally saves the pump and absolutely no milk can get into the pump. The whole EZ system works wonderfully well and is truly easy to clean up. The other issue for me was the cost ... the EZ machine was affordable and the customer service is truly out of this world!

Not trying to take away from the machine that happyfarmwife has found and likes ... just giving my experience. I'm using the EZ machine on my goats and my cow.
happyfarmwife Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 08:08:33 AM
Our goat lady neighbor who has the Parts Department system has a tiny milking area in a very small shed. Way too small to be considered a "parlor"!.....her milk space is maybe 7' wide and 6' long about half of her little shed. Just enough room for a milk stand along one wall to secure the goat and very little floor space. I figured she would set her vacuum pump outside and run the vacuum hose through the window.....when we helped her through the first two milkings, she decided that the she wanted the vacuum pump inside her tiny space....It's much quieter than my portable 3/4hp air compressor that I use to power my air guns for construction work.....just sits there and purrs, the bucket pulsator clicking away and goats munching their grain.....didn't bother the goats at all to have the pump next to the milk stand.....that way the switch is within easy reach to shut down between goats.
farmlife Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 06:53:50 AM
I like the portability, too, Ron. I just can't visualize the system in use.
Ron Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 06:34:04 AM
Great machine...pretty much what I have been looking for allmthevyears past and never found it all in one place! Thank you for sharing this one! At the top of my list....I hand milk and when the cow freshens milking out 6 plus gallons a day is way more than I care to handle...thank you.
happyfarmwife Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 05:41:58 AM
The key to big dairy operations is to use an appropriate chemical to clean and kill microbes. They do count a lot on the fact that all commercial milk is pasteurized. On that same note, the milk is always tested for bacterial count and somatic cell count so it has to be within safety parameters.
As for a video, don't know if Parts Department has anything like that available. They are primarily a company that sells to the commercial dairy industry where programs and systems are in place.
Our neighbor with dairy goats has dried off her dairy girls for the year so can't do a video for you there. But will give it some thought as one of our friends is still milking her does using her Parts Department portable milking system. Maybe we can come up with some video with hand-on views of things in use.....both ladies are at a big goat show this weekend so will have to visit with them when they come back about doing video....

Too bad I don't get a commission on all the equipment I have sold for Parts Department.....guess when I find a good thing I enjoy sharing, especially when it's not only good products, it's great customer service which seems to be disappearing in today's world!
farmlife Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 05:09:30 AM
I don't know much about the Ultimate EZ, but here's a link to the website where he shows set up and use:

Happyfarmwife, I've been wondering how big dairies make milk machines more "workable" if you will without constantly cleaning the machine. I would love to see a video with one of the machines from the Parts Department in use.
happyfarmwife Posted - Sep 04 2015 : 04:17:42 AM
Cute diagram....have to giggle at the 7 teats......and one comment. The home type milking systems of the mid century all came with a "float jar" to prevent milk from entering the vacuum pump. It was basically a glass jar with a plastic ball inside. The vacuum line attached so that the vacuum ran through the jar. No liquid in the jar, the ball is at the bottom and vacuum flows.
When liquid entered the jar(over filled milk bucket) the ball would float.....enough liquid and the ball would raise to the point it would close off the flow of air and prevent vacuum pump damage.

It's so simple and so effective. Float jars are still available however very very few systems offered for the home milking include one. Guess it's because so many people and companies are "new" to the knowledge of machine milking and how the systems work.