Milking Sheep..

Milking during a major cold snap.. lets just say its BRRRRRRR out there for the past couple days,  after battling trying to move a big old horse, a in your face cow and a moving sheepy swirling mass around you to be able to get one single sheep into a pen to milk, my morning and evening milking was getting to the point of taking me 40 min, when the milking itself is only taking ten..

Time to put the thinking cap on, as my milking sheep wants her ration, she comes running when she is called, so the day before the very cold snap hit, I decided to try milking her up by the house, the first day, she held up milk like to tomorrow (she didn’t like the change in her routine at all, in fact she barely even eat her food, and pretty much fussed the whole time, the evening was a bit better but not by much..

The next day, however the lure of the grain called her strongly, but the problem for me was that I could not easily move from side to side like I can on the stand in the barn , so I had to learn how to milk her from the rear as well as under so that I can milk both sides while only being on one side myself, (I am getting better at this each time).

Then I added in wanting to make sure she gets extra fresh warm water at each milking if she wants it , along with the watering in the pasture.

Her mik dropped a bit and is slowly getting back up to where we were, its interesting to me that I get more milk in the morning but I get more cream on the evening milking.

While she really likes her new feed, I don’t feel that its giving the same boost as my milking ration does, and so I am going to switch her over, she also needed a bit of cubes to increase the overall quality of her hay/feed.

The milk is coming in and being strained and then quickly chilled in the fridge, this presents a interesting chance in your cooking habits..

The sheep milk is so rich that if you were going to use milk and butter, you can just use the sheep milk, this is wonderful as it creates rich and full bodied flavours in dish, and in other way’s it pushs my cooking knowledge as I need to modify each meal and how its being made to match up.

We don’t drink much milk in the house, I tend to use it for cooking and or cheese making, when I was milking a couple does, it seemed like I used more of it for critter feed then I ever used for house use,  I expect that I will find the same thing when Girl Freshen’s, part of the reason I think raising a second calf makes sense, as while I will be finishing the large black piglets on milk, which will create the best pork ever!

and I intend to clabber lots of milk to feed the chickens, to help reduce the feed costs, but not before I get lots of cheese and butter made up for when she is not producing..

But as I am currently only milking on sheep per day at the moment, it means that I should be able to find a way in house to use it all.

For someone that typically can make 3 liters of milk last a month, to suddenly have liter after liter after liter coming in the house, its different.. but wait till that is gallons..

Now I am putting up the milk as raw milk, and it depends on what is being done with it on if its cooked or not before we are consuming it.

I have to admit that I while I am comfortable doing so with my own milk, I am surprised to realize that I would be a little leary about drinking anything but pastureized milk if I was not in control of the whole process.

What about you, if you milk your own animals, do you drink or use your own milk in raw form or  do you heat it? IF? its legal in your state or country, do you buy and consume raw milk? or raw milk products?

Ps, having on and off again internet, so if you don’t hear from me for a bit, or it takes longer to get comments though.. that is why..

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4 Responses to Milking Sheep..

  1. Of course purchasing raw milk is illegal around here, but IF I were getting raw milk, I’d want it to be from a farm where I knew the farmer and got to see the animals. I have no objection to raw milk. I grew up on it. IF I were getting it and trusted the farmer, I would be willing to drink it while pregnant and serve it to my small children.

    As a funny note, my pharmacist is from Eastern European and was shocked to find out that people here do *not* buy raw milk directly from farmers! She knew it’s sold in the grocery store, but she assumed that that was in addition to the fresh milk.

    What would sheep milk soap be like – similar to goat soap?

  2. When I can I sign up for sheep milking classes??? I have a ewe with the most amazingly huge udder and only one lamb. I really need to learn to do this! but I will happily wait until it’s not minus 35!!

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