Small scale farmers are supposed to know how to milk a cow by use of their hands since it is not worth buying a machine if you have less than ten cows. Milking process is basically the same for all, although there are some differences. For instance, some people prefer to milk when they are on the right side of the cow while others prefer to do it when they are on the left side. Before you master the technique of milking a cow, you will experience difficulties doing it. When you master it, milking will be something very easy and you will be able to do in any angle. Before you reach to this stage there are a number of things you need to understand first. Dairy cows need to be milked twice a day and you need to milk them correctly so that you can avoid diseases such as mastitis. Lactating cows will always have milk in their udders and thus it is a natural process for them to produce milk when the tits are stimulated.
Techique of milking cows
One of the most important things to understand while milking a cow is that everything that is going to be used should be clean. First, your hands should be clean, the whole udder should also be cleaned thoroughly; the containers for milking and storing the milk should also be clean. If you do not take care about the cleanliness of the milk it will affect the quality of the milk and worse still, it may affect your health if you consume contaminated milk.it is advisable to dry the udder and your hand before you begin to milk your cow. Paper towel is the best drier to use here to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Another important thing you should understand is that, the cow may kick you no matter how gentle it appear in the field. Therefore, the first step to carry out while milking using hand is to secure a position whereby you can restrain her by tying back legs together with a rope or something strong to avoid kicking. The cow can also be held in a stanchion. Then place a milking stool on the right side of the cow and place your milking container between your legs. You should try to minimize the distance between the teats and the milking container as much as possible to reduce any chance of pouring the milk to the ground. You should make sure that you have all the required equipment. This may include a milking container, two clean towels and gently warm water. To clean the udder, the first towel is dipped into the warm water and used to wipe the whole udder and around the belly near the udder. This is followed by drying the cleaned area using the second towel without rubbing or irritating the teats. You should clean the teats with soapy water or iodine. Warm soapy water does help in “bringing down” the milk.
The above step is followed by the real milking. The technique of milking a cow depends on how you hold the teat. First apply a lubricant in your hands to minimize friction. The teat should be grasped by the whole hand with your thumb and forefinger around the upper part of the teat. By holding the teats like this, you are preventing the milk from going back to the udder. The rest of the teat should be enclosed with all the other fingers and this will help you to press the milk out of the udder. To get a good flow of the milk, you should release the thumb and fore finger to allow the milk to flow and then repeat the process of enclosing and squeezing with the rest of your fingers. Squeeze down to force the milk out, maintaining your grip on the lower part of the teats to prevent milk from flowing back to the udder. Do not shake and pull the teats. This motion is maintained by rhythmically squeezing your fingers from middle to the pinky to force milk out. You should be gentle but firm to force the milk out. Continue with this process until the udder on the quarter you are milking looks deflated. If you are experienced you can feel the udder to know whether all the milk has come out. It is advisable to start with one teat; once you are good at it you can handle two at a time. Start milking the fore quarter of the udder followed by the back quarter. It is necessary to milk the cow completely to avoid diseases and also avoid the cow starting to dry up her milk supply. Milking process should be fast to avoid occurrence of diseases such as mastitis which are caused by slow milking.
After you finish milking the cow, keep your milking container away from the cow to avoid from being kicked or spilled. Clean and dry the udder again and if the teats have cuts or scrapes you can treat them using the recommended ointment. This will help the cuts and scrapes to heal quickly and keep the udder soft and pliable. After tending the medical needs of the cow, you can release her.
Regular milking times are important because cows become accustomed to being milked at set times. A slight delay will make a considerable difference to the quantities of milk and cream a cow produces.