I am babysitting my friends Jersey house cow for a week while she is interstate. She is a lovely old girl (Josie the cow, not my friend;) with a dropped rumen, a broken tail, a blind quarter, an uneven udder, a dicky hip that makes her shuffle when she walks and a mummified fetus inside that means she will never have another calf, but has stayed in milk producing roughly 7 litres per day for several years and according to the vet will likely continue to do so. From the sound of all that, you would never buy a cow with all these issues, but Josie is worth her weight in gold as a patient and gentle house cow. I milked her myself for the first time using the milking machine and was extremely relieved that she is so patient because those cups were like dealing with an octopus which meant putting my head and body right in the firing line if she decided to kick me.
The thought didn't even cross her mind, she just happily stood eating her dinner while I fumbled around with the octopus machine. Ok, so it's only got four arms but it might have well been eight it was that tricky to get on. Machine milking is definitely quicker, but it proved to me that I really love and miss hand milking. It would be a good investment for days when I am sick or not here to milk so that someone else can do it, so I will look at getting one eventually.
Obviously, I need to get a new cow first and have found one close by that seems very sweet and just what I am looking for so plan on bringing her home next week. The owner is hand milking her every day between now and then to get her into the routine before we transport her, so fingers crossed she settles in well and her production doesn't stop (we'll possibly try fostering her young half brother onto her to keep her supply up as her own calf is 9 months old and not for sale.
A couple of very bad photos from my phone.