How to Milk a Cow Step-by-Step

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To fully reap the benefits of a dairy cow, you will need to milk her every day. Cows who are not milked on a regular basis may stop producing milk or develop problems with their teats. Knowing how to properly milk a cow, and doing so on schedule, prevents problems from occurring.

Step 1

Tie your cow in a secure area so she can not escape while you are milking her. Visually inspect your cow's udder for signs of injury, swelling or discomfort that might indicate your cow is experiencing a health problem such as mastitis, which occurs when teats become blocked. Call your veterinarian if you discover a health problem when you are inspecting your cow's condition.

Step 2

Wrap your thumb and forefinger into a circle around the base of one of the cow's teats. Gently and quickly squeeze the teat to release a small squirt of milk. This is called stripping the teat; you do so to remove any dirt or debris from the teat as well as to quickly check the appearance of your cow's milk for potential problems. Milk should appear white and smooth, as opposed to clumpy, when you express it from the teat. Do this for every teat.

Step 3

Apply pre-milking disinfectant to every teat, following the instructions that come with the product. Wipe disinfectant away with a clean towel once you've completely cleaned the teats with it.

Step 4

Wrap your thumb and forefinger around each teat and squeeze the teat so milk squirts out of it and into your clean bucket. Continue expressing milk from the teats until the entire udder is empty. Make sure you milk every teat on your cow's udder. Apply post-milking disinfectant to the teats after you have finished milking the cow.

Items you will need

  • Halter and lead
  • Cattle teat disinfectant designed for use before and after milking
  • Sterile bucket
  • Towel

Tip

  • Milking machines are used to milk cows in large cattle or dairy operations but are not commonly used by small farms with only a couple of cows. You will need special equipment and training before you are ready to use a milking machine.

Warning

  • A cow who does not want to be milked may kick you when you attempting to milk her.

    Photo Credits

    • Steve Baccon/Digital Vision/Getty Images