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If milk is being delivered at 2.30am what on earth time are they milking the cows?

(31 Posts)
MaryTheBookeeper Tue 23-Jun-20 02:32:55

It's too hot to sleep with the window closed so I hear every vehicle going by. This is the 3rd night I've heard the milkman delivering at 2.30am. But with the processng involved, I'm wondering what on earth time are they milking the cows these days?

Elegran Tue 23-Jun-20 03:21:22

I believe they are milked twice a day, so it was probably yesterday!
Mine hasn't been delivered yet - I was up anyway so went out in my dressing gown to fetch it in. Not there!

annsixty Tue 23-Jun-20 05:15:27

I have heard it being delivered at 11:30pm more than once recently.
It must have “gone off” by the morning on the recent very hot nights, which is probably why it is now early morning instead.

Rufus2 Tue 23-Jun-20 06:42:18

I'm wondering what on earth time are they milking the cows these days?
Mary They're New Zealand cows, 11 hours ahead so already milked and air-freighted to your doorstep.
Haven't you noticed all that extra luscious cream? grin

Hetty58 Tue 23-Jun-20 06:52:03

Our milkman (actually a woman) has always delivered at 3 am. We have oat milk, loo roll and bread delivered, sometimes other stuff (they're a little online shop really). As soon as I'm awake, usually 4-5 am, I'll retrieve it from the doorstep, before the foxes take it!

Calendargirl Tue 23-Jun-20 07:11:49

Our local milkman delivers in the middle of the night. He has a huge round. Think about it, we can’t all have milk delivered at 6-7a.m.

janeainsworth Tue 23-Jun-20 07:38:46

That’s why I stopped having a milk delivery, many years ago.
I was fed up with the milk having gone off before breakfast and/or the tops being pecked open by the birds.

Perhaps I’m not discerning enough, but the supermarket milk that now comes with my weekly delivery from Morrisons is always dated at least a week ahead and always tastes fine.

Witzend Tue 23-Jun-20 07:50:58

Ours usually arrives in the small hours, 2-3 am - I hear him sometimes when sleepless. It’s never off.

geekesse Tue 23-Jun-20 08:30:36

Remember, it doesn’t go straight from the cow into the bottle. The milk is collected in a tank from the cow, where it is stored ready for processing. It is then pasteurised and bottled before distribution. The milkman may then spend several hours hours travelling round a wide area doing deliveries. It has a longer shelf life than you’d expect, and is highly unlikely to go off in two or three hours on the doorstep.

Susan56 Tue 23-Jun-20 08:31:14

I would think it’s milk from yesterday afternoons milking.Our son in law has a dairy farm,they milk twice a day 4.30am and pm.🐄🥛

grannysyb Tue 23-Jun-20 08:36:41

We have a small insulated container for the bottles. Keeps them cool. Love having it delivered as it saves me having to lug home the milk from the supermarket.

harrigran Tue 23-Jun-20 08:51:00

No milkmen where I live.
We used to have it delivered when DC were young but the birds always got to it before us and I had to pour it away. If I had to go to shop for replacement then paying twice was a waste.

Shrub Tue 23-Jun-20 08:54:35

Birds used to peck the tops off milk to get to the cream. Now milk is homogenised the cream is no longer at the top so they don't do it!

Cabbie21 Tue 23-Jun-20 08:59:16

We arranged deliveries from a national firm but have stopped because they left the milk on the doorstep which gets the early sun, despite being asked to leave it is a shaded spot. We had to throw some away. They made three mistakes in the order, so now I get milk via my veg box man. It comes during the day time when I can take it in straightaway. Doesn’t have as long a shelf life as the other but is fine.

MawB Tue 23-Jun-20 09:06:55


I would think it’s milk from yesterday afternoons milking.Our son in law has a dairy farm,they milk twice a day 4.30am and pm.🐄🥛

That’s what I thought! (In answer to OP’s question)

Farmor15 Tue 23-Jun-20 09:10:46

The cows have probably been milked 2 or 3 days previously. These days cows are milked on farm twice a day, but milk is stored on farm at chilled tanks for 2-3 days before being collected by large tanker and taken for processing. Because of low temperatures and excellent hygiene on farms nowadays, there are very low numbers of bacteria, and pasteurisation kills 95% of those, so milk lasts much longer than it used to, when hygiene was poorer.

However, if milk is sitting in warm temperatures on a doorstep, the bacteria remaining will start multiplying and the milk may not last nearly as long as milk bought chilled in supermarket and put straight in fridge. However, those who find it convenient to get milk delivered, will probably use it quickly anyway.

Insulated container as grannysyb suggests might help in warm weather.

Davidhs Tue 23-Jun-20 09:18:49

Many cows are milked 3 times a day equally spaced, others are milked by robot - the cow visits the “ milker” when she feels like it. However milk is collected from farms once a day, allowing time for transport, bottling and distribution its likely to be yesterday’s milk.

If you want today’s milk some farms have vending machines. Hygiene and refrigeration has improved greatly at all levels, so if it is kept in the fridge at home it lasts a week and more.

midgey Tue 23-Jun-20 09:25:11

If you buy milk from the supermarket the price paid to farmers is ridiculously low. If we want milk to continue to be produced in this country we should buy from an independent source.

grannypiper Tue 23-Jun-20 09:42:21

I agree with you midgey. Many supermarkets bang their own drum regarding how wonderful they are at supporting coffee farmers, banana farmers etc abroad through the Fairtrade scheme yet they dont believe our farmers should have a fair price for their products.
The consumers also play a part in demanding cheap milk whilst paying £2/3 for less than half a pint of takeaway coffee.
We need to be fair to our farmers.

PamelaJ1 Tue 23-Jun-20 09:47:19

The milk is collected from farms once a day.
Some farms milk 3 times, some twice.
My husband gave up soon after his employer started the 3times/day regime.
Too stressful in his opinion, for the men and the cows, most farmers think that their staff are robots.
Not all of course, my DH had two excellent employers during his career.

geekesse Tue 23-Jun-20 09:55:44

Not all milk is homogenised, though supermarket milk often is. My doorstep milk (normal and gold top) has a nice thick layer of cream :-). It comes in recycled glass bottles, and it keeps a local business trading. The supermarkets use their buying muscle to bully farmers into accepting the lowest price for their milk, and then much of the profit goes to the supermarket instead of the producer, so I prefer not to collude with that form of exploitation.

Davidhs Tue 23-Jun-20 10:00:45

Milk is one of the “loss leaders” that supermarkets use to get customers through the doors along with sliced bread, beans and several others.

Harris27 Tue 23-Jun-20 10:03:54

I was reading this and have never had a milkman for years how lovely in these times to hear they are still about. I would support them if I knew how to.

geekesse Tue 23-Jun-20 10:08:02

You can find out here if doorstep delivery is available To your address:

Shrub Tue 23-Jun-20 10:40:30

My milk delivery service has been brilliant during this period. They will deliver much more than milk these days. I wish I could advertise them on here as they didn’t come up on geekesse site.