It seems like every time we turn around, it's milking time!
It's routine for us...and sometimes we get asked questions about milking that we never really thought about much before.
Today we were over visiting our neighbor before evening milking, and he asked: "How long does it take to milk a cow?" I had to think about that for a bit...and guessed that it's probably around five minutes per cow, on average. Then we headed out to the barn, and I decided to time a few cows just to see if I was right...
Here, Jim is washing off "the Twin", preparing her for the milker. We wash and dry each cow's teats with an individual, biodegradable paper towel. The end of the teat needs to be clean and dry in order to keep the milk clean and to prevent infection from entering the udder. The stimulation of washing her also causes the cow to "let down" her milk.
Now the milker is on "the Twin"...and I've started watching the clock, just to see...
She's a good milking cow, about 120 days into her fourth lactation. (She's had her fourth calf)
When the milker came off, I looked at the clock. Five minutes and ten seconds!
She's likely milking around eighty pounds per day...but we don't know for sure, since we don't weigh the milk individually for each cow. The herd as a whole is averaging seventy pounds per day, per cow.
I timed a few other cows as well...and came up with milking times anywhere from four + minutes to seven + minutes for a new first calf heifer who milks out hard (and who kicks the milker off whenever she's tired of it!)
It's interesting what little details we learn from the questions we are asked, so go ahead and ask... 'll try to find an answer!