A fellow milk cow friend of mine often likes to say:
A milk cow doesn’t ask for much, but she asks every day.
I milk my cow every day, rain or shine, whether I’m dog-tired or feeling fine, feeling my age or full of sunshine.
To make that experience an enjoyable one, it helps immeasurably to have the right equipment.
First (and foremost): find a good cow.
You want to enjoy milking time, leaning up against her warm flank as you swoosh swoosh swoosh that liquid sunshine into the bucket.
Take the time to find and invest in a good, proven family milk cow who is calm, quiet, healthy, and patient. Some days I spend more time with my cow than with my husband. You want to be sure you love that time, not dread it.
I cover this topic and many, many more in depth in my online course, Milk Cow 101.
Click here to learn more and join the waitlist so you’ll know as soon as enrollment opens and you too can learn everything you need to feel confident and prepared as you embark on your milk cow journey.
After a good cow, favorite milking supplies are pretty subjective, but these here are my favorite every day milking supplies. They’re good quality and hold up to the wear and tear of every day use.
1. A stainless steel 13qt milking pail.
I like the 13 qt size because it will get me through an entire lactation – from when she’s giving 3 gallons a milking twice a day to when she gives not quite 2 gallons once a day.
Stainless steel means it’s easy to clean and sanitize. And it has no seams where milk particles can get lodged and go bad.
2. A milk pail lid
Odd as it may be, milking pail lids are sold separately from the pail (which makes no sense at all to me), so make sure you ALSO get a lid.
After spending all that time and effort to milk out 2 gallons of liquid sunshine, you don’t want to have to dump it out because something got in the bucket on your way to the house.
3. A stainless steel re-usable coffee filter
Once you bring the milk to the house, you need to filter it to remove any stray bits of hair or straw or dust. You can purchase special-made milk filter funnels and disposable paper filters, but I like this one a whole lot.
It’s inexpensive, stainless steel and re-usable so easy to clean and sanitize, fine enough to filter out everything it should, and fits just right into the mouth of a gallon jar. Win win win win win.
4. Wide Mouth Gallon Glass Jars
You need jars to keep your milk. I’ve tried half gallons, but when you’re bringing in 4-5 gallons of milk a day, half gallons fill up my fridge waaaaaay too fast.
Plus – I much prefer the extra-wide mouth on a gallon jar. It makes it much easier to skim the cream and I’m all about that cream.
And, when you buy them from Uline they’re shipped next day delivery. It’s a mite more expensive (though you more than save that on the cost of the jars), but oh so gratifying to need jars one day and have them show up the next!
5. Milking Rags
If you opt for disposable milking rags (they’re quick and easy to use, you can store them in the barn right where you milk, they’re single use and so always sanitary), you can’t go wrong with a good, quality shop towel.
Though I’ve seen diaper wipes used to great success as well. Just sayin’. You’ve got options.
If, however, you’d rather use washable, reusable milk rags, I say make your own.
You can use old towels or sheets, t-shirts or sweatpants. If you cut up towels or sheets, be sure to zigzag the edges with your sewing machine so the threads don’t fray (I did this with some of mine and skipped it with others and find I always reach for the sewn ones first). But t-shirts and sweatpants don’t need to be sewn so if I get the choice, I find I cut them up for milk rags first.
Use 2-3 rags at each milking: 2 for washing, 1 for drying. Just bring them back to the house and keep them separate from your other wash (I have a small basket in the laundry room just for milk rags).
Once I’ve got a good many (generally after a few days), I’ll toss them into the washer on hot water and an extra rinse cycle. Easy. Clean. And no cash output.
So there you have it. I use these items every. single. day. They’re worth their salt and make the whole routine run smoothly.
If you’re new to the milk cow life, or want to be soon, come join the waitlist for my online course Milk Cow 101, where you’ll get all the information, knowledge, and actionable step-by-step training to feel confident, prepared, and empowered to bring home your first family milk cow.