To get the most from a dairy cow, you have to milk the cow every day, or she may stop producing milk and develop problems with her teats. However, unless you own more than 15 dairy cows, the cost of an expensive milking machine outweighs the benefits of using it.
You can save more money when you do it by hand, and while milking by hand has its difficulties in the beginning, it only takes time before you master the technique. After you know how to milk a dairy cow, you could probably do it blindfolded. Until you reach that stage, however, here are some things you will need.
Disciplined Schedule for Milking
You should milk cows twice daily, and you have to milk your cows correctly so that they feel happy and generous with their milk. As long as you handle your cow with care, she will produce milk from her udders when calving. Because her teats get stimulated from calving, she naturally produces the milk.
Clean and Sanitize Everything
Hands down one of the most important rules of milking a cow by hand relates to sanitizing everything. The main areas to sanitize before you start milking include:
- Your hands
- The teat you will be pulling on
- The bucket to collect the milk
- The receptacle to store the milk with
Without proper care of hygiene in the workstation, it affects the quality in the final product. Even worse, a failure to keep your workstation clean can lead to a buildup of harmful bacteria like mastitis, which is a disease of the udder that can spread from cow to cow and hurt your milk production. Clean the buckets out after each use and rinse it well with hot water. When cleaning the cow, you don’t necessarily have to wash her fully, but you should wash and brush the side of your cow to prevent debris from dropping into the buckets. Finally, you should wash your hands and the udder before you start to hand milk your cows.
Beware of Kicks
It doesn’t matter how docile your dairy cow acts out in the field, she can kick like a mule if she feels threatened. For that reason, you have to treat your cows with respect and tie their legs together with a strip of leather or cloth before you start milking. In addition to a cow kicking you, she may kick over your bucket full of milk just as you were about to finish. Some dairy farmers don’t restrain their cows, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth in the end if she kicks you and the milk bucket.
Milking the Cow
To begin, you will set the milking stool on the right side of your cow, and you will place the bucket between your knees so that the bucket doesn’t accidentally tip over. You should also try to get under the cow so that you shorten the distance between the teat and the bucket.
Milking by Hand: All in the Technique
When it comes to milking cows by hand, it all boils down to how you hold the teat of the cow. For example, you should always grasp the teat with your whole hand and thumb, and your forefinger should be close to the top of the teat. With the proper grasping of the teat, you stop the milk from flowing back up into the udder. After you have done this, you enclose the rest of the teat using your fingers. This will press the milk out of the cow. To effectively pull milk from the teats, you will release the grip from your forefinger and thumb on the teat, which lets the milk flow down from the udder. You repeat this process of enclosing the udder and squeezing the teat.
The Process of Milking
The actual process of how to milk a cow is not overly difficult, but it does take some time to master the technique. When you first milk cows, you should begin the process with the front teats and move to the back two teats after you have emptied them. Afterwards, you can return to the front teats and finish with whatever remains. Milking cows sets you in a rhythm, and after a while, you will learn how to pull with both hands.
A milker must exercise caution to keep small dust particles, hairs and other debris out of the milk. The most common way to do this is to set a cheese cloth over the milk bucket. While milk does get strained after, much of the dirt dissolves and passes through the strainer and into the milk. You prevent this problem with the use of a cheesecloth. After you have finished with milking, here’s some recipes on cheese making.