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Old 02-06-2013, 12:24 PM   #1
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Question Do we have Farm knowledgeable people here?

Was talking to a person the other day, letís call him friend. He was telling me about buying row milk. Apparently farmer, letís call him Farmer, had horses. Friend asks Farmer what do you do if a horse has a baby and has milk, do you milk it? Yes, Farmer answers. And what if you baby was sold, what do you do with the horse milk?
Now this is a large farm that sells milk to the producers. Under FDA supervision and all the usual stuff.
Farmer says we dump it with the cow milk. Doesnít government find out? Oh no, they usually call us when they are coming, so we do not do it in that case.
Sounds like a totally made up nonsense to me. But what do I know. Tell me, please, if you know, if something like this is even remotely hypothetically possible.


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Old 02-06-2013, 01:16 PM   #2
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I'd say it is very unlikely to occur in the United States.

First, given the different ratios of fats and sugars, i'm betting the dairy would notice.


% fat 3.7 - 4.1

% protein 3.2 - 0.8

% sugar 4.6 - 6.8

Second, unlike cows, horses have only two teats and a 1,400 lb. mare will produce less than a quart of milk per day. Why bother.

Third, it would be VERY DANGEROUS. I'm thinking helmets and armor.


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Old 02-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #3
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1 qt/day?
Foals mustn't need much milk until they are weaned. I would have thought a mare produces more, of foals would need more.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
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Any farmer I have known do not remove the filly or colt from the mare. The mare will let her baby know when she is ready to have it wean. I have seen mares that will bite their baby if they try to nurse and she doesn't want them to. The baby is put out to pasture with the mother when it is just a few days old so it can get used to seeing and eating grass. Once the baby is seen eating grass, it is separated from the mother permanently. They may both whinny and fuss for a couple of days, but they get over it. Colts will take to the grass sooner than a filly.

I don't see how he could even both to take the time to milk the mother. There is so little milk that it is better to just let her dry up. And ALL milk is tested before it even leaves the tanker and unloads at the processing plant. The horses milk would show up as an impurity and the whole tank is rejected. Very costly to the farmer. BTW, one of the tests they give the milk is for tuburculin. Cows and milk are tested every day for it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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That would just be giving away what's become an expensive sort of health food, especially in Europe where it was once popular and is now coming back. Mare's milk producers milk five times a day and get a quart or better each time and still leave milk for the foals at night. It's not quite like dairy cows. Horses need to have a foal around to produce, but the same milking equipment works. Most mare's milk is sold as powder, because it doesn't keep well at all (unless fermented, ala Mongolian style). It's really expensive, like $15 an ounce. There's a lot of fast and loose talk about magical benefits of mare's milk for all sorts of conditions, but of course it's still just milk, just with a different balance of sugars and fats from cow's milk.

But I think your informant is telling a tale. Dairy farmers have plenty to do and work really hard, and I don't see them bringing in a horse or two and messing with milking it. And when a foal is being weaned, they just take the mare off grain and feed grass hay to help get her to dry up quickly.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:33 PM   #6
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Details details. I don't recall how many teats a mare has-- if you say 2, that seems fair. I do remember the foals eating grass as soon as they were allowed outside the horse stalls, and they were so gangly.

Growing up on a farm, we had both cows and horses, at least for awhile. Dad traded the twice/ day milking in favor of expanding the hog barns. Guess what my job was, and it wasn't the feeding end of it. Not dependent on time of day either, so one could take in after school activities and still need to do one's share of chores in the evening.

I can't imagine a farmer would mix milks up on purpose. Even as little as I was at the time, I remember dad was very careful about all steps in the cow milking process, and that was when individual milking machines were used, so they had to be cleaned out really good, and the cows udders washed before attahing the milkers and I don't know what all. And if one of a cow's udders got an open sore, a scratch from a bramble bush or something, who knows what caused it, it had to be treated very carefully. Milk cows were one sure source of ongoing farm cash, unlike waiting seasonally for the crops to be harvested or once/ year sheep shearing
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:58 PM   #7
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Let me see if understand this corectly. Cost and extra work aside, if both milks mixed together it will show on the test, right?
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:57 PM   #8
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CharlieD--I don't think it would show "mare's milk" but the test would show that the milk is not the same if it were only cow's milk. The same would be true if you mixed goat's milk with cow's milk.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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Some one might might be doing that, but the dairy people I know don't have time to fool around with milking horses so they have a little extra milk to add to the daily batch.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:42 AM   #10
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Sounds bogus to me, too. Too much work for too little return.

I doubt that the 'test' at the dairy would show any contamination by mare's milk, unless they are doing DNA testing. They test for bacteria, for the presence of white blood cells (pus, from mastitis) for TB, and for fat content, and I doubt that a quart or two of mare's milk in gallons of cow's milk would set off any alarms. Or be harmful, for that matter.

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