Introduction: How to Milk a Cow
The first step is to bring the cows into the milking barn. The process can be different compared to other dairy farms depending on how updated the system is. At our farm, our cows are outside most of the day relaxing, eating, and socializing with the other cows. We milk at six in the morning and six at night. It is important not to milk too late, or too early because if the cows schedule gets messed up it could increase stress on the animal. In this video, our cows are walking into the barn and going into their individual stanchions. When all of the cows get inside and are in their stanchions we go up by the stanchions and tie them in individually. To close the stanchion, all that has to be done is just close the lever shut and make sure it latches.
Step 1: Dipping the Teats
The next step is to take a teat dipper and dip each teat into the cleaning solution. The cleaning solution is just iodine which helps clean off any dirt, manure, or other harmful bacteria that may be on the teat. For best results, leaving the iodine on the teat for a couple of minutes will be better than wiping it off right away. After a few minutes have passed, take a clean rag and wipe each of the teats off until they are clean and no more dirt/manure is present. When all of the iodine is off of all four teats, the next thing is to strip each teat. Doing this allows the producer to see if the cow has an infection called mastitis. Mastitis is an infection cows can get if bad bacteria gets up through the teat and into the udder. The cow would have bad milk, so milking her with all of the other cows is a big no no. While stripping the teats some of the cows may kick so be careful and know where you are so if she does try to kick, you know where to move and avoid being hurt.
Step 2: Milking the Cow
After the udder has been cleaned it is now time to actually start milking the cow. To do this, take one milking unit and hook it up to the pipeline. A pipeline is what all of the milk gets put into after it leaves the unit. The milk will then travel through the pipe until it gets to the milk tank where the milk is then stored. After the unit is hooked up, carefully bend down by the cows udder and put all four of the claws on the teats. There are four claws because cows have four teats. When all four are put on, make sure the hose is away from the cows' hooves so she doesn't step on them by accident. By now the cow is relaxed and will let down her milk.
Step 3: Done Milking
On the milking unit there is a small glass jar that allows you to see if the cow is still milking or if she is finished. In this picture, there is no more milk visible so this means that she is done milking and that it is time to take the unit off. To do this, simply turn the valve off on the hose and gently pull the unit off of her teats.
Step 4: Iodine Again After Milking
When the unit gets taken off the next step is to dip all four teats in the iodine solution again. This will prevent bacteria getting into her teats and causing any infections.
Step 5: Happy Cow
The cow has now been milked and is able to relax again. Depending on the time of year, we either let our cows go back outside in the nice weather or keep them in the barn over night where it is nice and warm. The cows will eat hay, silage, drink water and rest up until the next milking!