Modern dairy farmers have moved away from the traditional hand milking of cows – many mechanical devices have been invented to help these farmers milk multiple cows at once without having to touch a single udder. However, many family farmsteads still use these animals to provide milk, cheese, and butter for their kitchens. Milking the family cow can add another chore to your to-do list but it is worth it knowing what dairy products are available for your family as well as moving to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Steps for Milking a Cow
1. Prepare the Environment – Secure the cow in a dry, clean and calm environment. This will help ensure that the cow is comfortable and will produce milk properly.
2. Inspect the Udders – Before beginning milking, check all udders and teats for signs of problems such as swelling and signs of mastitis, a common disease among cows that can affect their health, production and quality of milk.
3. Strip Out Each Teat – Stripping the teats allows the removal of bacteria and dirt from the teat and can reveal signs of infections. Indicators of infection are clear milk, clumps or blood. To strip the teats effectively, perform 3 to 4 squirts per teat.
4. Disinfect the Teats – Utilizing a pre-milking disinfectant can help stop the development of mastitis. Length of application will depend on the disinfectant being used so follow the product’s instructions carefully.
5. Remove the Disinfectant – Once the disinfectant has set, use a single-use towel to wipe the product from each teat.
6. Begin Milking Using the Proper Technique – To begin milking, wrap the thumb and pointer finger around the bottom of the teat. This will capture the milk inside the teat. Next, loosen your grip slightly and softly squeeze to dispense the milk repeating on each teat until the udder is empty. Emptying the udder with help prevent mastitis as well.
7. Apply Post-Milking Disinfectant – Immediately apply a post-milking disinfectant after milking is complete. Follow the products instructions for application. Do not clean off this disinfectant once applied as it can aide in preventing the development of mastitis.
This chore should be performed twice a day to help maintain the health of the dairy cow as well as the quality of the product in which is produces. Milking a cow the old fashion way can be a rewarding experience as well as a great way to provide milk, cheese and butter for your family. By performing this chore in a stress-free, clean environment and using the proper pre-milking and post-milking disinfectant you can guarantee a safe, high quality product as well as proper care for your dairy cow.