We Are Raw Milk Fans!
We have been drinking raw milk for years and have had nothing but wonderful benefits from it!
We personally believe that pasteurized milk has more ability to harm you than raw milk properly handled ever could.
When you pasteurize milk, you kill all bacteria, good and bad, by heating the milk to a high temp and keeping it there for a period of time. When you finish you have a dead product.
This has become necessary in large dairies were milk from hundreds or thousands of cows is combined before being bottled.
For instance: If one cow is not cleaned properly, and manure gets into the milk, it goes into all the milk, and thus everyone who drinks that milk is drinking manure bacteria in there milk. This goes for any kind of harmful bacteria, not just manure.
But for a one cow operation, where you are hands on, making sure of the cleanliness of your routine, this is not a concern. When your milk has beneficial bacteria, (i.e. probiotics), it actually attacks and kills harmful bacteria.
We recently did an experiment with some of our our milk.
We left a half gallon of whole raw milk in the back of our fridge for 10 weeks. I actually forgot it was there or I never would have been able to wait so long! My husband and I took it out and scrunched up our noses as we unscrewed the lid, preparing for the worst smell ever. We stuck our noses in and took a deep breath and to our complete surprise it smelled sweet! Just like yogurt! I even got the nerve up to taste it and it tasted sweet, with a tangy yogurt after taste.
Remember, this is 10 week old milk.
I couldn’t help but think what a gallon of store bought milk would have smelt like after 10 weeks in the back of a fridge!
~Why We Love Raw Milk~
Here are some of the benefits of raw milk:
~All twenty standard amino acids – a complete protein.
~Anti-microbial molecules such as Lactoferrin, Lysozyme, and lactoperoxidase.
~Lactic acid, which boosts the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and iron and makes protein more digestible.
~CLA – an Omega 6 fatty acid that stokes metabolism, helps eliminate abdominal fat, increases muscle growth, reduces insulin resistance, boosts the immune system, decreases food allergy reactions, and has anticancer properties.
~All of the vitamins, including, of course, calcium. It also contains the proper balance of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium for best absorption.
~Cholesterol; yes, we do need cholesterol, especially for the production of hormones.
~Beneficial bacteria that suppress the bad bacteria in the milk and in our guts.
~Nearly fifty percent of the calories in raw milk are from butterfat. Yum. Butterfat contains higher amounts of vitamins A and D, which are necessary for the assimilation of calcium and protein. The fatty acids in butterfat also help to stimulate the immune system and contain lipids which prevent intestinal distress.
~Raw milk doesn’t contain additives, unlike the coloring in typical butter, the bioengineered enzymes in mass cheese production, and the neurotoxic amino acids in skim milk.
Here is a really good article to read about raw milk from a more scientific state:
Our Milking Routine
This is what we do:
Make sure the stanchion is clean, we rake it out every day after milking.
Put 1 clip of alfalfa or some grain in the feed trough.
Bring in our cow or goat. I lock her head in the head gate and she goes to town munching.
Spray her with a homemade udder spray, using 1 squirt dish soap, 1 part vinegar, and 2 parts clove tea, (I boil a handful of whole cloves in water until it is dark brown.)
Spray her whole bag with this and wipe her down with a clean wet cloth, then dry her with a clean dry cloth.
Start milking. First three squirts from each teat do not go into the milk bucket. This ensures that any bacteria that could have gotten in the teat is expelled.
Then start milking into a clean stainless steel bucket. We bought out at our local farm supply in the dog food isle (Much cheaper than the stainless steel milking buckets, but the same thing).
When finished milking, put a lid on the pail and let my cow/goat out of the stanchion. We have a pretty good system, where she finishes eating, right about the time I am done milking. She backs out and goes out in the barn yard.
Clean out the stanchion, grab the milk and head to the house.
In the house, strain the milk into a milk strainer/filter. There will be some hairs and the occasional piece of dirt/flake of skin in the milk. The filters are great for getting rid of all that.
These strainers can be purchased from many home dairy web sites such as Hoeggear Goat Supply:
Strain the milk straight into clean 1/2 gallon glass Mason jars, or what ever you wish to store your milk in. Wide-mouth glass is preferable as it is easy to clean and does not hold odor like plastic can.
Fill the jar, leaving about a 1 inch head space, screw the lid on, and put it in the freezer for about an hour. This helps the sweetness of the milk to come out. The sooner it gets cold the better. Then take it out, stick it in the fridge and it’s ready to drink!
Dexter milk will take about 12-24 hours for the cream to rise to the top. you can skim this off for skimmed milk and use it for cooking, making butter, sour cream and all kinds of wonderful things. Or you can just shake it into your milk and drink.
What Your Cow Wishes You Knew
By Janene from Keeping a Family Cow Proboard
Milking time and the milking area should be free of chaos. It’s to be a quiet time, think of putting a baby down for a nap—or going to sleep at night. No one can sleep with a bunch of ruckus going on. The same applies when it’s time to milk.
Some cows could care less, but some have a “quiet issue” and have a hard time letting down and standing still if the world around her is in an uproar. How is she supposed to know what you want if there is disorder all about? It’s easy to get upset, even angry at a fidgety cow. Here are some things that might help:
Stop, listen, and look around you. What is she upset about? Why did you get upset with her? Could it be:
1) The environment–dogs barking, radio blaring, calves bawling, cars honking, or kids/cows/other critters running about in the milking area? Maybe she’s not used to hearing a milk machine running if you’re using one.
2) Her treatment–if you’re already in a bad or a hurried mood, she’ll know it and pick up on it and will be hesitant/expectant of bad vibes/mojo (for lack of a better term). You knew when your parents were upset with you and expected the worse. The cow can do the same.
3) Her food–she likes the “good stuff” at milking time–(Or when you’re done milking.)–it’s a tradeoff of sorts! She learns she gets the special feed/hay around milking time. That’s the tradeoff—cooperation for a job well done—and milk in the bucket!
4) Or is she simply just throwing a tantrum because she can (maybe testing you)?
One thing is for certain; cows expect and thrive on routine. Sometimes simple changes can go a long way in making a cow happy and ready to stand still and easily let down that milk. Do your best to milk at a similar time each and every day. Your days should revolve around milking times, not the other way around.
From the human perspective: it has to be a big priority, and a consistent one. The dedication and work involved tends to make us appreciate our bovine friend just that much more for what she does provide.
A Family/House Cow should be treated like Royalty; she is the one providing the liquid gold. From better foods to being treated extraordinary–she’s earned her status.
Here are a few more of our favorite raw milk sites: