There are lots of options when it comes to choosing buckets and containers for milk. I use what I’ve found to work best for my situation, and I thought I would share what that equipment includes in case anyone is scouting for similar products for their own family milk cow.
Before I delve head first into buckets and jugs, I wanted to inform my readers that Sienna is due any day now! She is about to pop. Her swollen udder and belly look so uncomfortable. So, my milking break is about to be over, and it’s back under the cow I go. Maybe by next post, I’ll have photos of Sienna’s new calf.
Back to buckets… Last year, due to an unfortunate accident where I knocked my old steel bucket off the counter, it fell on the tile floor, and the handle broke off, I got myself a brand new milk bucket.
There are more options than you would think for milk buckets. I ended up ordering a 9-quart stainless steel bucket online from Hamby Dairy Supply Co. It was $65. That may sound like a lot of money, but my last steel bucket lasted for more than 20 years. The design of milk buckets has improved in the last 20 years, and my new bucket is easier to clean. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it most certainly will not hold 9 quarts. If I have 7 quarts in it, it’s about spilling over. Most of the time, I only put a gallon in at time, so it doesn’t really matter.
So, milk into bucket and then what? Then I strain the milk into a glass gallon jar. You need a large-mouth jar to be able to strain the milk easily. I use old, cut-up, washed and bleached T-shirts as milk straining rags. I’ve found they work the best, letting the milk through easily but catching any hair and dirt that might fall into the bucket. (Before milking, I wash the udder thoroughly with a washcloth to keep my milk as clean as I can, but there’s always a few hairs. The udder is covered in hair, especially in the cold months. Dairies will burn/singe this off, but I don’t.)
After the milk is in the glass jug, it goes in the fridge. However, I will then transfer it into another type of container later. It’s too difficult to pour the milk out of such a big jar, so I will put the milk into either a 2-quart glass jug or a plastic gallon jug. (Please see photos.) I prefer to use glass at home. It’s much easier to clean, and it lasts longer, unless you break it. I use the plastic jugs if I need to transport my milk very far. Obviously, they are lighter and better at being spill-proof. I bought about a dozen of the glass 2-quart jugs online from Target. At the time, they were on sale for $6 a piece. That’s a really good deal for glass jars. I bought the plastic jugs from Walmart for about $5 each.
Whatever kind of container you decide on, it’s important to remember that you will need to be able to fit your hand or a brush inside of it to get it properly clean. That’s why a lot of gallon jugs won’t work; the spouts are far too small. To save on cost, you’ll want to reuse your containers as much as possible.
I welcome anyone else’s tips on their preferred milking equipment. Or, I am happy to answer any questions. Happy milking!