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Demos and Exhibits

Cow Milking

Some kinds of cows are used for beef (such as hamburgers and steaks) and others are used for dairy products (including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream).

cow milkingThe breeds typically used for dairy products include: Holstein (black and white), Jersey (small and brown), Guernsey (big and reddish-brown), Brown Swiss (big and grey), and Ayrshire (white with red/brown spots).

A cow makes milk when she has a calf, and she will continue to produce milk long after her calf is weaned.

Cows store milk in their udder, which looks like a four-compartment bag between their hind legs. Each udder has one teat, which is what is massaged so that milk will come out.

On modern dairy farms, cows are milked in a place called “the parlor.” Cows are usually milked 2 or 3 times a day. Some cows can give 8 or more gallons of milk a day!

When the cow goes into the parlor, the farmer washes the teats so that no dirt or germs get into the milk. The farmer then attaches a machine with four small vacuums—one for each teat—to the cow.

It takes about 4 to 6 minutes to milk each cow.

After the cow is milked she goes back to her barn or pasture, and is offered plenty of food and water so that she can continue to make the delicious milk that we all love!

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