- We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong. Bill Vaughan
Milk a Cow
Want some crazy stuff? Let's learn how to milk a cow.
- Make sure the cow has a halter and is tied to a sturdy post or held in a stanchion.
- Clean the teats with soapy water or iodine. (Warm water may help coax or "bring down" the milk.) Dry the teats, but don't rub or irritate them.
- Place a bucket underneath the udder. Better yet, hold it between your legs. It takes practice, but this can be done easily and comfortably. This position reduces the chance of the cow kicking over the pail of milk.
- Sit or squat in a position that will allow you to move away quickly if the cow becomes uncooperative. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, for example, is not safe. (See Warnings below.) An ordinary milk stool can be fabricated with two 2x4's cut and nailed to form a "T" - cut to fit your behind and make sure it is low enough to afford comfortable access to the cow's teats.
- Apply a lubricant such as Vaseline to your hands to minimize friction.
- Wrap your warm hands around two of the four teats. Choose diagonal teats (front left and rear right, for example). Or, try the front teats first, then the back pair
- Squeeze the base of the teat, after gently clamping each teat between your extended thumb and first finger, so that the teat fills your palm as you squeeze down.
- Squeeze down to push out the milk, maintaining your grip on the base of the teat so that the milk doesn't flow back up into the udder. Do not jerk or yank the teats. This motion is performed by sequentially squeezing your fingers from the middle to the pinky to force the milk out. Be gentle yet firm. Keep your eyes peeled for mastitis (see Tips).
- Repeat with your other hand. Most people prefer to alternate (right hand, left hand, right hand, etc.) The downward squeezing motions takes less effort doing it in alternate steps than all at the same time.
- Continue until the quarter that you're milking looks deflated. Experienced farmers can feel the udder to know exactly when all the milk has come down. Often even looking at the quarter just milked can tell you if it's been emptied enough or not.
- Move on to milk the other two teats. If you use the diagonal method, switching sides is not necessary.