I love weekends when I can spend my time milking cows and feeding calves. Throw in quality time with some of my favorite people and it's a great time.
|This little calf just loved sucking on our fingers|
Speaking of not wearing non-farm clothes to the barn, I was out for a walk when one of the little girls my friend was babysitting asked if I could take her to see the cows. Sure! We started in the calf barn with those sweet babies and eventually made our way to the milking parlor. Since I wasn't planning to end up at the dairy right then, I was wearing my yoga pants and running shirt. Definitely not farm clothes!
"Can you teach me how to milk cows now?!" How can I say no to this? Impossible. She was doing pretty good too!
One of the first questions she asked me was, "How do you clean the milk?" What do you mean, I asked. She explained a little and this led to a great discussion about how milk flows and how throughout the entire process, it is never touched by human hands.
When the cow comes into the parlor, a iodine pre-dip is applied to each teat to sanitize them. Cows are laying in the freestalls and walking around all day between milking, so this prep process helps get any dirt off the teats before the milking machine is applied. Next, take a few squirts of milk from each teat. This checks for an abnormal milk that may indicate she has an infection. The stimulation also stimulates the pituitary gland to release oxytocin to let down the milk. Next, use a towel to wipe the iodine off the teat. Now is the time to attach the milking machine. Depending how much milk this particular cow gives, the milking machine is usually attached for 8-10 minutes, but this can vary slightly. Once she's done, use another iodine solution to provide a barrier and protect the teats from things in the environment when she goes back to lay down.
In short, milk is pure, so it doesn't have to be cleaned. It is pasteurized and homogenized at the processing plant and made into your favorite dairy products. Pasteurization heats milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds to kill any bacteria that may be in it and homogenization breaks up the cream that typically rises to the top to create an even consistency.
At the end of the day, she said, "Milking cows is more fun than the Derby!" Now, that is what I'd consider a success!!