[Explained] How To Milk A Cow?

One of the best things that you can do for your homestead is to purchase a cow or a couple of cows to provide milk, cheese and butter for the household. Having these dairy cows will definitely help you to have a more sustainable lifestyle with a greater variety of food to eat and enjoy. However, if you’re like most people, you have no idea how to milk a cow. Thankfully, this is a skill that can be easily learned.

How Long Does It Take To Milk A Cow?

how long does it take to milk a cow

The time it takes to milk a cow depends on whether you’re milking with a machine or by hand. If you’re using a machine, it will only take around 5 to 10 minutes in order to milk her.

However, if you’re milking by hand, it will take around half an hour. Of course, beginners will take a lot longer.

Additionally, the tools that you will need to use to milk the cow should be extremely clean and should be thoroughly sanitized with bleach before usage.

How To Train A Cow To Milk

Now, in order to train a cow to milk, you need to start with a very calm and relaxing demeanor. If you are overly tense or make a lot of noise, kick up a lot etc, this will make the cow stressed and you’ll have a lot of problems milking her.

You should simply open the door to the milk barn and allow your cow to walk in. Then, give the cow a bucket of tasty grain in order to refocus her and make sure that she is on a short lead.

You should be wary of getting kicked by your cow and if she attempts to kick you, discourage the behavior by saying “No” in a firm and authoritative manner.

The cow may display other aggressive behaviors such as shaking and tossing of the head, stomping, pawing the ground, glaring etc.

These behaviors need to be discouraged by thumping the cow on the nose and saying “No” or “Back”. Once your cow submits to you, you’ll be able to easily milk her.

How To Milk A Cow By Hand Step By Step

1. Place The Cow In A Secure Position

In order to start milking by hand, the cow needs to be in the milk barn with her head secured.

2. Clean And Wash The Cow’s Udders

Next, you should clean and wash the cow’s udders and hindquarters to ensure that no fur, hay or poop gets into your milk. If you use warm water, this can actually help relax the cow as well as bring down the milk. Make sure your cow’s teats are dry before you start milking.

3. Prepare Your Hands

Next, you need to wash your hands and then add a lubricant to your hands such as udder cream, petroleum jelly or other oil.

4. Strip The Teats

After this is done, you’ll have to strip the teats. Basically, you will need to pull down on each of the cow’s teats in order to remove any bacteria or unwanted debris from within the cow’s milk ducts. When stripping, be sure that none of the milk gets into your bucket.

5. Position Your Hands

Once stripping is completed, you will need to place your milk bucket under the teats and place your hands, with one hand wrapped around each teat.

6. Milk The Cow

Position your hand so that you clamp the teat between your index finger and thumb and the entire teat should be in your palm while you squeeze downwards repeatedly, causing milk to squirt out from the teat. Try not to pull.

You should keep pressure on the base of the teat so that the milk continues to flow into your bucket. Be sure to be firm while milking and you should also try bumping the udder from time to time to help stimulate the milk to be let down.

How To Milk A Cow By Machine {Video}

If you have many cows, then a milking machine is a great way to quickly milk them as the machine is significantly faster than milking by hand.

  1. You should always thoroughly clean the machine before and after using it on your cow as well as thoroughly clean her teats before starting.
  2. You will need to turn on the machine for a few minutes in order for it to build up pressure.
  3. Then, you will actually have to hand milk the cow for a little while until the milk is let down and perform stripping as explained previously.
  4. Once that has finished, place the suction device on each one of your cow’s teats and make sure the tubes hang down vertically under each teat.
  5. The machine will then automatically draw out the milk from your cow’s udder and it will only take about 5 minutes to do so.
  6. After this time has elapsed and no more milk is flowing into the machine, turn off the suction and then remove the device from your cow.
  7. Make sure to clean your cow’s teats after milking and place post milking disinfectant on each of your cow’s teats to prevent bacteria.

How To Make A Cow Produce More Milk

how to make a cow produce more milk

Now, in order to get high quality milk from your cow, you need to make sure it has the best diet that is nutritious. You should ensure your cow has constant access to clean and fresh water and each cow should be given around 30 gallons per day.

Additionally, the cow should be fed grain and roughage. If you have a pasture, be sure to allow the cow to graze on at least 1 to 3 acres of land, but make sure that the land is free from poisonous plants.

If the cow eats these plants, it will negatively impact the quality and taste of the milk the cow produces as well as the cow’s health. Here is our article how to treat cattle’s bloat with baking soda.

In the event that you don’t have enough land, be sure to provide your cow with high quality alfafa or clover hay.

An average sized cow will need to eat between 2 to 2.5 lbs of hay every day. It will also need to eat grain that contains 16 to 20% of protein. To put this into perspective, in order to produce a gallon of milk a day, the cow will need to consume around 3 lbs of grain to do so.

Another important consideration is the overall health of the cow. A sick and unhealthy cow would produce very poor quality milk that would not be fit for human consumption.

So, it is important that your cow gets all the vaccinations it needs which includes brucellosis, tuberculosis etc. You will need to discuss with a vet the types of vaccinations your dairy cow will require since some vaccinations are not best for milk cows.

Conclusion

We have just looked at how you can milk a cow by hand as well as with a machine. Once you learn this valuable skill you will be able to enjoy fresh milk and milk products whenever you want on your homestead.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

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