my cow's milk doesn't taste good anymore ..... : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My good ole Guernsey/Jersey cow calfed four weeks ago. As usual, I milked her out after the calf had his fill, but didn't use the milk for about two weeks. We started using the milk at about 3 weeks lactation. I do everything the way I've always done--very clean, etc. I skim the previous morning's milk and pour into a clean jug for use. But the milk doesn't taste very good. And after two days (if it's not all used up by then), the milk begins to taste salty or just not good. It doesn't taste sour. One time, years ago, the cow started to develop mastitis in one teat and that milk tasted salty. But I just kept that milk separate and discarded it. After a few days, she was fine and so was the milk. But this time it is continual. Are we using it too soon after calving? Four weeks sounds like plenty of time to me. She is on pasture and there is plenty of grass (we've had sufficient rain). I started feeding her some 20% dairy feed this week hoping that it would help. Also, the skimmed milk is very thin looking. I skim all the butterfat that has risen in 24 hours. But the milk is as thin as store-bought skim milk. HELP!

-- Janie (, August 03, 2000


Well, my dad had a 300 cow dairy and I thought I knew everything about cows and milk but I don't know what your problem is. Unless it's something the cows are eating in the pasture. I remember sometimes in the fall when grass was thin the cows would eat bitterweed. It's kinda' like broomweed, and has tiny yellow flowers. The milk would taste horrible. Real bitter. It was safe and all that but just tasted awful. I suspect your problem is something like that. And yes, four weeks is pleanty long for the cow to clear up. You might call somebody in the dairy business and see if they can help you.

-- Joe Cole (, August 03, 2000.

You're going to think I'm crazy, but I have an Amish friend who told me that she has to throw out her milk if it thunders. The milk sours by the next day when it thunders. Now this family has milked cows for generations, so they would know. And you said "we've had sufficient rain". Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, August 03, 2000.

Salty, thin milk is a symptom of subclinical mastitis. You'll have to treat her, since it's a recurring problem. It could develop into full blown acute mastitis otherwise.

-- Julia (, August 03, 2000.

i don't milk cows but do have a goat and i at least once a week test for mastitis. to me what you are discribing is probabley mastitis. I use dr. naylor mastitis indicators have not had a positve yet but the test is easy you just put mild from each teat onto the dot and watch to see if it changes color. i would think they might be local but if you can't find them e-mail me and i will post mail order sources. gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (, August 05, 2000.

in my other post i forgot to say that i test routinly as one of the reasons i milk a goat is that i want good healthy milk to drink. so i feel that i need to keep a check on it especialy as i drink it raw and don't want to transfer problems to me. gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (, August 05, 2000.

Hi Janie,

I posted a question on thin, salty milk from my goat a couple of months after freshening and got some interesting feedback. The post is in the older messages, goat barn. I wasn't really aware of it at the time, but I now think I was feeding too little alfalfa. I feed mostly grass until kidding to keep the calcium low to avoid eclampsia at kidding. I have done that both times, and then after a while gave my doe access to more alfalfa. Each time, her milk has become richer and sweeter without the salty taste. I think next time, I'll increase alfalfa much more quickly. I also had her milk cultured both years by a local vet, and it came back negative, so mastitis wasn't it. I recently spoke to a woman with many years of experience milking a Jersey for home use, and she said good alfalfa hay makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in milk quality. (The emphasis was hers.) Hope this helps. Laura

-- Laura Jensen (, August 09, 2000.

I don't think the Amish lady is crazy. We have severe thunderstorms here in Central Florida; Lakeland, the town nearest us, is supposed to be the lightning capital of the world. I do believe the thunder stresses the cows, no doubt scares them as it does me. We have had lightning to strike our storage building and set it on fire instantly. A neighbor had six cows to drop dead when the lightning struck a fence they were touching. A friend had three beautiful horses to drop like dominoes on top of each other when the lightning struck the tree they were under. Not to speak of the human deaths on golf courses, on the beach, in fishing boats, etc. It seems to seek out a moving target, someone who is running to the car or house. I have noticed that some days the cow's milk is thinner, sometimes it goes bad quicker that other times, and I'm going to watch it in the future and see if it corresponds to the thunderstorms. I sure would tremble and get ill if I had to be out in the storms myself. My cows do have a shelter, but it is better if they don't run for it.

-- Lela Picking (, August 09, 2000.

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