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How to Milk a Cow

Modern milking parlors use machines, but milking a cow by hand is an ancient art. Here’s the "udderly" perfect way to do it.


  • Step 1: Feed cow Feed the cow in the early morning with a grain mixture or hay.
  • Step 2: Set up stool Set your stool on the right side of the cow’s udder. A one-legged stool lets you swivel to be close to the udder.
  • TIP: Wash and dry your hands before milking, or use latex milking gloves. Gently wash the cow’s teats with warm water and a commercial sanitizing solution.
  • Step 3: Sit on stool with pail between legs Sit on the stool and hold the pail firmly between your legs.
  • Step 4: Grasp teats Raise your thumb and grasp the front teat with your fingers together in a gentle grip, like holding a tennis racquet. Squeeze and release, alternating hands until the teats are empty.
  • Step 5: Milk back teats Switch to the back teats.
  • TIP: Cows sometimes get mastitis, which leads to sore udders. If you see signs of cracking on the teats, call the vet.
  • Step 6: Repeat in evening Repeat milking in the early evening. You’re not done until the cows come home.
  • FACT: One cow produces about 350,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

You Will Need

  • A dairy cow
  • A grain mixture or hay
  • A one-legged milking stool
  • A stainless steel milking pail
  • Milking gloves (optional)
  • Warm water (optional)
  • Soap or sanitizing solution (optional)
  • Milk pasteurizer (optional)

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