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Selection of Animals

Farm Building


Record Keeping

Sanitation & Hygiene





Body Condition Scoring

Milk Quality




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Management of Milking Animals

To get high milk during any lactation, the milch animal should be properly fed and necessary care and managemental practices should be followed.

Animal should be provided with good quality silage or hay as maintenance requirements are fulfilled by it. Extra concentrate at the rate of 1 kg for every 2 liters of milk should be provided. Salt and mineral should be supplemented . Never frighten or excite the animals. Always treat them gently and with kindness. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Lukewarm water is preferred over cold in severe winter. Consumption is significantly depressed due to cold water. Milk animal at regular time and interval. If we change time or interval, the production declines. There should be interval of 8-14 hours. Milking should be done quickly, regularly, cleanly, gently and completely. At the time of milk let down oxytocin is released. Its half life is 7-8 minutes. If milking is not quick, there will be low milk production. So be quick and gentle. In fear epinephrine and nor epinephrine is released which have reverse effect of oxytocin so never frighten animal during  milking.  Do  not


leave milk in udder; otherwise next time there will be decrease in milk. Increasing milking frequency from two times a day to three times daily may increase milk production by about 2.5 to 3.5 litres per day.

Cow must be bred upto 60 days after calving for next calf. For this purpose proper heat detection is required. When animal come into heat, call AI technician for insemination.

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Lactation period of animal is divided into three phases.

Phase 1. 0-70 Days after calving (Early Lactation): During this phase milk production increases rapidly.

Phase 2. 70-140 days after calving (Peak Lactation): During this phase animal has peak production.

Phase 3. 140-305 days after calving (Mid and late lactation): During this phase milk production declining and reaches the lowest. After this phase dry period starts.

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  Milking Methods 

Basically there are two methods of milking: hand milking and machine milking.

Hand Milking

Stripping and full-hand milking are the two commonly used methods of hand milking.

Stripping consists of firmly seizing the teat at its base between the thumb and forefinger and drawing them down the entire length of the teat pressing it simultaneously to cause the milk to flow down in a stream. The process is repeated in quick succession. Both hands may be used, each holding a different teat, stripping alternately.

The full-hand method comprises holding the whole teat in the fist, fingers encircling the teat. The base of the teat is closed in the ring formed by the thumb and fore finger so that milk trapped in the teat sinus may not slip back into the gland cistern. Simultaneously, teat is squeezed between the middle, ring and little fingers and the hollow of palm, thus, forcing the milk out. This process should be repeated in quick succession. By maintaining a quick succession of alternate compressions and relaxations the alternate streams of milk from the two teats sound like one continuous stream. Many milkers tend to bend their thumb in, against the teat while milking. This practice should be avoided as it injures the teat tissues.

Full-hand milking removes milk quicker than stripping because of no loss of time in changing the position of the hand. Cows with large teats and buffaloes are milked by full-hand method; but stripping has to be adopted for cows with smaller teats. Full-hand method is superior to stripping as it simulates the natural suckling process by calf. Stripping causes more irritation to teats due to repeated sliding of fingers on teats; and so discomfort to cows. In spite of these drawbacks when all milk that is available is drawn out by full-hand method, stripping should be resorted to milk the animal completely; the last drawn milk is called strippings and is richer in fat.

The hands should be perfectly dry while milking because wet-hand milking makes the teats look harsh and dry chafes, cracks and sores appear, which are painful to animal.

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hand milking

Machine Milking

In modern dairy farming cows are milked through machine. The working principle of the milking machine is imitating the calf suckling. The milk is extracted in a rubber liner applied on the teat with a lower pressure (vacuum) than the surrounding atmospheric pressure. In order to avoid damage on the teat the liner is periodically collapsed to create a massage and relief on the teat exposed to vacuum. This is called pulsation and occurs normally once every second.

Components of Milking Machine:

  Vacuum pump:
This can be seen as the “heart” of the milking machine, without it we cannot milk. It creates vacuum by sucking air out of the system (pipes, receiver, etc) to suck the milk out of the cow’s udder.

Sanitary Trap:
This “trap” protects the vacuum pump from moisture and dirt that might be sucked up through the vacuum lines by accident.

Vacuum Regulator:
This can be seen as the “brain” of the milking machine, and controls the vacuum level in the system, by letting in extra air when the vacuum level rises too high and closing when the vacuum level drops too low. It can be very harmful to the cow if the vacuum level rises too high, and the teats of the cow can be damaged.

Vacuum line:
This line transports the vacuum to the pulsators

This important device simulates the suckling of the cow, and stimulates the cow to let down the milk to be sucked out by the vacuum. It also massages the teats of the cow.

Because the milking machine works under vacuum, and we pump the milk to a cooling tank, we have to use a receiver to collect all the milk during the milking process, and then pump it to the cooling tank for refrig­eration.

Milk line:
This line transports the vacuum to the cluster and then transports milk from the cluster to the receiver.

Cluster/Teat Cups:
The cluster consists of the rubber liners that fit tightly around the teats to extract the milk and a collection bowl where the milk is collected from the four teats.

Cooling tank:
The job of the cooling tank is to cool down the milk as fast as possible, preferable to about 4°C within 3 hours after milking. It is important that we cool down the milk to 4 °C as fast as possible to prevent bacteria growth. If we do not cool it down quickly enough, it will become sour.

Operation of Milking Machine/Milking Parlour:

  • Before starting milking make sure all equipment and tools are at hand and in proper condition. Wash your hands thoroughly before starting milking.

  • Start milking with young fresh calver and healthy cow. Then milk old cows and finish milking with treated cows.

  • Always handle animals with care and in a calm and considerate way. No yelling or beating if you want them to give you all their milk. Preferably shower the animal

  • Clean and massage the cow’s udder. Use dry cleaning if the udder is clean. If it is so dirty clean it with warm water and dry with udder towel. Never use same udder towel for each cow.

  • Dip the teat in some recommended dip solution and after dipping clean it with tissue paper. This will eliminate infections to spread from the outside of the teat to the inside of the same or other teats milked with the same unit.

  • Put on the milking unit within one minute after preparation.

  • Monitor the milking and adjust the unit if it starts squeaking or if the cow appears uncomfortable.

  • Take off the unit when the milk flow has ceased or is very low. Check that the udder is empty before you remove the unit.

  • Dip the teat in post dipping solution within one minute after takeoff. This will safeguard disinfection and protection of the teat canal while it still is open.

  • Register the observations you do on the individual cows during milking. In many production systems milking is the only time of the day when you are close to all the individual lactating cows.

  • A persistent routine is very important for this action as the cows will develop a let down reflex that is adjusted to such a routine.

At large scale dairy farms milking is done in milking parlours and milking lines. Different types of milking parlours are discussed in Farm Building section of this website.


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