Thursday, 20 March 2014

The milk machine is working! Yippee

We finally have the milk machine working now. 
We got a service man out to overhaul the system. It needed a new regulator, gauge and the pulsator needed a service. We have enough pressure to milk 4-5 cows at a time now, not that we need it :-(

This is our bucket milker. My dad milked using this over thirty years ago so it was nice to get it back to work. It holds about 30 litres of milk, perfect for our small setup. I keep it in the house and carry it out to milk with. 

Machine milking is so easy compared to hand milking and I have her milked out better than I ever could hand milking, in just minutes. 
I bring amber in and tie her up while she eats her feed. I clean her udder and strip some milk from each teat.
I turn the motor on at the wall and connect the vacuum tube to the bucket milker. I can hear the pulsator clicking immediately as the vacuum builds up. Then the tricky part, putting on the four clusters without them falling off again. I need help from hubby to do this at the moment but I'm sure within a week I will have mastered this.

It only takes 4-5 mins to milk her out. I watch the milk line and wait till the milk slows or stops passing through. I then pull a valve on the claw that releases the vacuum and allows me to take off the clusters.
Amber is still eating her food and is not nearly ready yet. So I turn off the motor and bring the bucket milker into the house. I then feed the hens, pigs and pony. Usually by then amber is ready to go back out to her yard or field depending on the weather.

My twice daily jobs are cut from 40 mins down to 15 mins.

When I get back to the house, I now have the milk and cleaning to deal with. This suits me as I can do it while the children are around me. 
I take of the lid and leave it in the sink to clean.

That leaves me a large bucket of fresh milk. Last night we milked 8-9 litres and this morning I milked 6-7 litres. That is a lot of milk and much more than I was able to hand milk.

It takes about 10 mins to strain and bottle the milk, and clean the milker. I leave it in the kitchen till the next milking to keep it clean. The hens would enjoy perching on it if I left it in the shed.

I am not saving much time by machine milking because of the extra cleaning but it allows me spend more time in the house with the children, preventing them causing mayhem. 
Also it is just easier, hubby will happily milk now so it shares the work load, it milks out more milk than hand milking and the milk that is produced is very clean and hygienic. 

The point of this post is that I LOVE my new milking machine!
I am making 2 litres of Greek yogurt, but that's not nearly enough of milk used. The pigs are enjoying all the milk.


  1. That milking machine brings back some memories, they were in everyday use, usually connected to an overhead airline.
    Every bucket was poured into a cooler, which ran down into the 10-gallon churns to be put out every morning for collection. These churns were gavlanized metal, very heavy, but were replaced by aluminium ones, much lighter.
    Then everything was washed ready for next time.

  2. That made me laugh. I still have all those items from when my dad milked. I have the large churns and the coolers that fitted into them with a water hose running through it.
    He used to fill them each morning and load them onto the back of the tractor and leave at the top if the road for collection. Then after dinner he would go again and collect his empty churns. Good memories.

  3. Thank goodness it's in action at last.

    I can't imagine having that amount of milk each day ... it's a good job you've got the animals to help you drink it all :-)

    1. Thank god for the pigs appetite :-)

  4. This was the type of milking machine we were thinking of buying, and you have now convinced me that our thoughts are heading in the right direction!

  5. The new portable milk machines are very expensive, at over €1000. We considered buying them but there are so few available second hand. We got the motor and vacuum for free from a dairy farmer that was upgrading. I already had two buckets, so this worked out much cheaper at about €300 for parts and servicing. And hubby milked this evening, leaving me the evening off :-)

    1. Milking every day is tiring for my husband, so I think we shall have to get a milk machine so I can take over now and again. The price here in France is the same though, so those machines are expensive. But glad that yours is working alright, and long may it continue to do so.

  6. Vera, it has changed my life for the better. I now only have to do the morning milking, which is now easy and fun! Hubby milks every evening but has yet to clean the machine after. I can disasemble the bucket milker and put it in the dishwasher with the top tray removed, couldn't get any more easy :-) I was foolish to be hand milking for so long, I am free now with cleaner milk and pain free arms/wrists. I absolutely love it and with cleaning etc it is still quicker. I can feed hens and pigs while she milks.


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