Pre-requisites for Good Milking:
Milking is the key operation on a dairy farm; it depends on the income derived. Any amount of scientific feeding or possession of high yielding cows will not help if the milking is inefficient.
Milking is an art requiring experience and skill. Milking should be conducted gently, quietly, quickly, cleanly and completely. Cows remaining comfortable yield more milk than a roughly handled and excited cow. Maintenance of clean condition in the milking barn results both in better udder health and production of milk that remains wholesome for longer time. The act of milking should be finished within 5 to 7 minutes, so that the udder can be emptied completely so long as the effect of oxytocin is available. Complete milking has to be done, lest the residual milk may act an inducer for mastitis causing organisms and the overall yield may also be less.
Preparation for Milking:
The milking barn should be thoroughly washed and scrubbed after each milking so that the barn will be clean and dry, before the subsequent milking is commenced. No dusty feed should be fed during milking. The hind quarters and thighs of cows should be brushed, and washed if lot of filth-is accumulating on them. Buffaloes should invariably be washed during summer; during severe winter brushing should be resorted to. Just before milking (after suckling by calf, if weaning is not practiced) the udder should be wiped with a cloth dipped and squeezed in some weak antiseptic solution. In winter the cloth may be dipped in warm antiseptic solution.
A part from cleanliness of cows and their udders, the milkers as well as the milking pails should be clean. The milkers should wear clean dress and cover (heir heads with suitable caps, lest loose hairs may fall in milk. Their nails should be well trimmed and their hands clean and disinfected between each milking by washing in antiseptic solution. Milkers obviously ill and having filthy habits like spilling, blowing nose etc. should not be used.
After each milking the milking pails should first be washed with warm water, scrubbed well using suitable dairy sanitizer and then rinsed well with clean cold water. Afterwards, they should be stacked neatly in racks -upside down, until next milking. Milking cans should also be treated similarly. Sanitary milking pails with dome-shaped top should be used instead of open buckets or vessels. A milk strainer should invariably be used before milk of each animal is poured into the milking can.
Pay attention to the routine of milking operations. Milch animals are sensitive animals. They get accustomed to certain routines and any sudden change in the routine will disturb them resulting in reduced yield. Experienced milkers should be put on first calver cows while/novices should first be tried on older cows. An ideal proposition is to rotate milkers among a group of cows so that the cows will get accustomed to all. Also milk cows at the same home every day. Any change in timing of milking or even change in ration should be brought about gradually.
In India hand milking of cows is still the most common practice. Cow's arc milked from left side. The order of milking the various teals also differs. Tents may be milked cross wise or for equareters together and then hind quarters together or teats appearing most distended milked first. The milk must be squeezed and not dragged out of teats. The first few strips of milk from each teat should be let on to a strip cup to see clues in milk for possible incidence of mastitis. This also helps in getting rid of bacteria which have gained access and collected in the teat canal.
Stripping and full-hand milking are the two commonly used methods of 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 repealed in quick succession. Both hands may be used, each holding different teat, stripping alternately.
The full hand method comprises of holding the whole teat in the first finger encircling the teat. The base of the teat is closed in the ring formed by the thumb and forefinger so that milk trapped in the lent sinus may not slip bad-, into the gland eastern. .Simultaneously, teal 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 she-buffaloes are milked by full-hand method; but stripping has to be adopted for cows with smaller teats for obvious reasons, 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 with a view to milk the animal completely; the last drawn milk is called stripping and is richer in fat.
In India, milkers are mostly accustomed to meet hand milking. They moisten their figures with milk, water or even saliva, while milking. This should be avoided for the sake of cleanliness. Wet-hand milking makes the teats look harsh and dry chafes, cracks and sores appear which are painful to animal. The hands should be perfectly dry while milking.
When cracks and sores are noticed on teats, some antiseptic ointment or cream should be smeared over them after milking.