I can't say our milking machine is new because I bought it several years ago. It's been in a storage building awaiting the time that I needed it. This is an example of storing things that will become useful in the times to come. If you have a future project that will make life easier and more productive after the SHTF, and you can afford it now, acquire what you think you will need now and store it away. It will wait for you, just like this milker.
Back when I researched and looked for a simple milking machine the Henry Milker out of Alaska was the only one I found, so I got one. Now there are several companies that have similar products like the one Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution uses, the Udderly EZ Milker. Patrice did an article on how she uses one to milk her cow here. If there is anyone out there that uses or has experience with a non-electric milking machine, please share with us. I would really appreciate anything you can share. I wrote this part of the article before we went to the barn and tried out the machine. You'll realize why I said this later on.
The components of our milking kit included the vacuum pump, four tubes, two tube cleaning brushes, two wide mouth quart jars, two lids, a micro fiber cloth and a carrying case. The directions are simple and easy to follow.
|Copper with her kids back in March|
At first I couldn't get a good suction going so the pressure would build up a vacuum and begin withdrawing the milk. With Frank's help, we finally got things going and the milk flowing.
|Yes, we always have our radios, even when we're together.|
The pressure gauge has to be pumped much more often than I expected, and even though I had to squeeze it less often than if I had milked by hand, it really wasn't that different than milking by hand except I didn't have to squeeze as hard.
I had to restart the suction/vacuum process twice on each teat because the milk stopped flowing. The directions included this possibility, and directed to release the syringe from the teat and start over, which we did.
Even with restarting twice on each teat, we only withdrew about half of Copper's milk. The rest I ended up milking out by hand into the bucket. I'm glad Frank recommended we bring it.
I'm sure with practice this machine would withdraw more of the milk, and I would be get much more adept. Even with all of the commotion of trying to figure out this machine, Copper was very cooperative through it all, and I was grateful. Frank did end up feeding her quite a bit more than usual just to keep her occupied while I tried the milker and he took the pictures. Even the flash on the camera didn't bother her. She did a very good job.
The Henry Milker worked just as advertised. The instructions and videos found on their website were helpful since I did run into a few things that were mentioned. Because I had access to the information ahead of time, I knew what to do when these situations occurred.
|No filtering necessary|
Cons? I have read in other places and heard from an acquaintance that you still need to finish the milking by hand if you want to
|One Stripe's udder|
So, what about my arthritis? I don't know. But for now I will continue milking by hand and doing the best I can. I may need to limit how many goats I have in milk at once, I don't know. It is very interesting to finally get to a place where I thought I would have to give in and quit milking by hand even though I didn't want to. Now that I have tried it, I really don't want to use a machine, not unless I really, really, really have to, and for now I don't have to, so I'm not. I thought about just deleting this article and not finishing it, but then again I thought maybe it would be of use to someone, so here it is. Food for thought.
Until next time - Fern