Grit Blogs > Milk Maid Ranch

Teaching a Dairy Cow Not To Kick

Milk MaidYou had your dairy cow bred, waited the long 9 months for
the calf to be born, maybe you let it nurse till weaning, now she is still in
milk and you want her to continue to give you that wonderful milk so you can
drink, make cheeses, ice cream, yogurt, butter and whipped cream for deserts.
Such wonderful treats milk can provide for us. Can’t you just taste it? 

The day comes and you are about to embark on this new
journey for most homesteaders. Your wonderful cow is halter broke and will
stand when tied or in a stanchion, with her eating her dairy ration of grain
while you are collecting her milk, you are all prepared to start. It’s been 12
hours sense the calf has nursed so her udder is full. You sit down beside her
and start to wash her udder before starting, to get any dirt off of it. WHAT,
your wonderful, sweet cow just gave you a warning with her hoof? She is telling
you not to touch her strutted udder because it is tender? Can’t blame her
really now, can we?  You try again while sweet talking to her but she wants nothing to do with your cold hands on her
teats.

This is what happened to me a year ago after weaning our
first Irish Dexter calf. I had raised Mahogany(Hog) from the time she was 5
months old, burned her horn buds, halter broke her and she will let me scratch
her entire body, even go through the motions of being milked before she calved
without the slightest thought of kicking me. My lovely darling will even come
when called. So, what would give me a clue that she would give me such a
warning? As it worked out, I had to let her dry up last year because of this
very thing.

This year I wasn’t going to let her get away with it. A week
before her calf was going to be weaned; I went to the dairy down the road to
ask what they do when they have a cow kick while milking. The owner has helped
me in the past and he was happy to tell me about a tool called Kick Stop. The
Nasco catalog has them and I was very happy it was under $20. The shipping was
more than half that so I went to the feed stores to see if they had one. No,
but they could order it for me. A week later, the day before I was going to
wean the calf, I went to pick up my Kick Stop. “WHAT, you didn’t order it?”
Wonderful! So I was back to the drawing board. The problem was the calf was
going to her new home and I needed to milk Hog the next day. So, down to the
dairy I went again. Laughing, the owner told me to use a rope in front of the
hip bones and cinch it up like a bucking strap on a rodeo bull. With the
picture of Hog becoming the first bucking rodeo cow and my mouth dropping, the
owner said she will not kick. Place the rope right in front of the pelvic bones
and the udder. Tighten it up, wait a minute and tighten it again. It will keep
her from kicking by constricting her tendons. She will sway a bit to get her
balance then settle down but she CAN’T KICK. Ok, I’ll try it. I did and was
amazed that she didn’t do a thing.

Hip bone on cow is a round area near the backbone on either side of the cow

Hip bone on cow 

With her being so hairy, the clippers had to come out to
shave her udder so I wouldn’t pull her hair when milking. She stood still and
was more interested in eating. I started to milk her and to my surprise, she
never tried to give me a warning kick. Finished, it was time to use the teat
dip to keep dirt from getting inside each teat, again, no warning. Hey, this
really works well.

Loop on the rope

Loop on rope 

The rope in front of the hip bone, rounded area behind rope.

 Rope in front of hip 

Rope is snug and in front of the cows udder 

 Rope snug 

This has been going on for a week now, 2 times a day, and
she’s been a doll about it. I decided to see if she would let me milk her
without having to use the rope, yup! I can’t say this will work for every cow
as they each have their personalities but it sure worked with Mahogany.  Happy milking!!!!!

Suzy & her husband have 40 acres in Texas
and breed Irish Dexter cattle and Miniature Alpine dairy goats. www.milkmaidranch.com