Hand milking
Reindeer milking (19th century)

Milking is the act of removing milk from the mammary glands of cattle, water buffalo, humans, 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 said animal.[1]

Hand milking

Hand milking is performed by massaging and pulling down on the teats of the udder, squirting the milk into a bucket. Two main methods are used:

Machine milking

Small-scale machine milking

Most milking in the developed world is done using milking machines.[2] Teat cups are attached to the cow's teats, 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.[3]

The average time of milking is 5–7 minutes and a cow can be milked with a machine 2–3 times a day.[4]

The existing robotic milking has allowed cows to have the freedom to decide when to milk, but still needs to make contact with people.[5][6]

A known side effect of machine milking is mastitis in cows.[7] Non-sterile machines can introduce bacteria into the teat and cause infection. Another side effect is physical teat damage by the machine.

Venom milking

The word "milking" is also used by extension to describe the removal of venom from snakes and spiders for the production of antivenom.

Spider venom milking can be done either by manual stimulation or with electrical stimulation. The former causes greater trauma to the spider and the latter produces venom of high quality.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of MILKER". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  2. ^ Farm and Ranch Depot, Farm and Ranch Depot (2022-07-22). "Cow milking equipment". Farm and Ranch Depot. Retrieved 2022-07-22.
  3. ^ "Milking, milk production hygiene and udder health". www.fao.org. Retrieved 2022-07-22.
  4. ^ "Milking Machines: How to Milk a Cow". www.usdairy.com. Retrieved 2022-07-22.
  5. ^ Robert E. Graves (2004). "A Primer on Robotic Milking". 2004, Ottawa, Canada August 1 - 4, 2004. St. Joseph, MI: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. doi:10.13031/2013.16895. ISBN 9781940956152.
  6. ^ Billingsley, John; Visala, Arto; Dunn, Mark (2008), "Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry", Springer Handbook of Robotics, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 1065–1077, CiteSeerX, doi:10.1007/978-3-540-30301-5_47, ISBN 9783540239574
  7. ^ Neijenhuis, F. (2011-01-01), "Mastitis Therapy and Contro | Role of Milking Machines in Control of Mastitis", in Fuquay, John W. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Dairy Sciences (Second Edition), San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 440–446, ISBN 978-0-12-374407-4, retrieved 2022-07-22
  8. ^ Oukkache, Naoual; Chgoury, Fatima; Lalaoui, Mekki; Cano, Alejandro Alagón; Ghalim, Noreddine (2013-03-28). "Comparison between two methods of scorpion venom milking in Morocco". Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 19 (1): 5. doi:10.1186/1678-9199-19-5. ISSN 1678-9199. PMC 3707106. PMID 23849043.