Milking Cows with a Bucket Milker

| 12/14/2016 10:28:00 AM

Tags: home dairying, milk, dairy cows, food safety, raising livestock, Steve Judge, Vermont,


The bucket milker was the first mechanized milking system to be invented, a long and painful process that began back in the 1850s. The first bucket milkers were crude and dangerous for the cow. It wasn’t until the pulsator was invented around 1900 that the first successful bucket milkers were introduced to dairy farmers in the US.

A Brief History of Bucket Milkers

During the 20th century two brands and styles of bucket milker came to dominate the market. The first was the Surge Belly Milker and its design was very innovative for its time. The bucket, claw and pulsator were combined into a single assembly that, when in use, hung from a strap that went over the back of the cow called a Surcingle.

In 1999, Surge stopped manufacturing the belly milker and a larger dairy equipment manufacturer bought the company and retired the Surge brand. However, Surge Belly Milkers have a retained a cult following and they are still being used today, primarily on small farms for both cows and goats. Replacement parts are still being manufactured for the units.

The second style of popular bucket milker was developed by DeLaval. Instead of hanging from the cow, this bucket sits on the floor beside the cow when in use. The milking claw is attached to the bucket via a milk line and the pulsator usually sits in the lid of the bucket. This style unit is still being manufactured and is the most popular style of bucket milker in use today. As the original DeLaval patents have all expired, DeLaval style bucket milkers are being manufactured and used all over the world.

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