The act of removing milk from the mammary glands of cattle, water buffalo, goats, sheep and more rarely camels, horses and donkeys. Milking may be done by hand or by machine, and requires the animal to be currently or recently pregnant. The milker may refer either to the animal that produces the milk or the person who milks the animals depending on the process of milking either by a machine or just by hand. These are the only ways milk is extracted from cattle or buffaloes in India.

Milking with Hand

Hand Milking

Hand Milking

Milking is done either by stripping method or by full hand method :

Stripping is done by firmly holding the cattle’s mammary gland between the milker’s thumb and fore finger and by drawing it down the length of the mammary gland and at the same time pressing it to cause the milk to flow down like a stream.

Grasping the mammary gland with all the five fingers and pressing it against the palm does fisting or full hand milking. The mammary gland is compressed and relaxed alternatively in quick succession, thus this method removes milk much quicker than stripping method since there is no loss of time in changing the position of the hand.

The full hand method is superior to stripping method as it stimulates the natural suckling process of calf and moreover the method exerts an uniform pressure on the large mammary glands of cows and buffaloes. The first few strips of milk from each quarter should not be mixed with the rest of the milk as the former contains larger quantity of bacteria.


There is also a third process which is best to be avoided unless the mammary glands are too small, this method is known as knuckling which should always be avoided at any cost to prevent injuries of the mammary gland’s tissues many milkers during milking tend to bend their thumb against the mammary gland. Thus the process of milking should always be done with full hand unless the mammary glands are too small or towards the completion of milking. 

Machine Milking

Today there are some fully automatic milking machines which gives your cow the freedom to choose when to be milked, allowing for a larger amount of milk to be obtained more efficiently.

Milking in most developed countries is usually done using milking machines. Teat cups are attached to the cow’s mammary gland, and then the cups alternate between vacuum and normal air pressure to extract the milk. The milk is filtered and cooled before being added to a large bulk tank of milk for storage.

Modern milking machines are capable of milking cows quickly and efficiently without injuring the udder, if they are properly installed, maintained in excellent operating as well as hygienic conditions, and of course used properly. The milking machine performs two basic functions.

  • It opens a streak canal by using a partial vacuum, allowing the milk to flow out of the cistern mammary gland through a line into a receiving container.

  • It massages the mammary gland, which prevent from coagulation of blood and lymph within the mammary gland.

Milking using Machines

Advantage of Machine over Hand (milking)

Rotating Milking Machine

There are various advantages of using machine to milk other than hand. It is easy to operate, costs low,it is also not at all time consuming i.e it saves time as it milks around 1.5 litre to 2 litres per minute. It is also very hygienic and energy conserving as electricity is not required. All the milk from the udder can be removed. The machine is also easily adaptable and gives a suckling feeling to the cow and avoids pain in the udder as well as leakage of milk.

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