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The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Do you think cows prefer to be milked by hand or machine?

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24 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

If I had to guess, I’d say a human hand is much more acceptable, to a cow, than a cold and unforgiving machine. If you’re looking for all out productivity, the milking machine is going to give you a much quicker return on your investment but as far as a more humane method (I’m just guessing, I’m not a farmer), I would think that hand milking is preferable over the alternative.

tyrantxseries's avatar

@scamp lol That is great

gailcalled's avatar

My local cows all vote for hand-milking.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Having milked cows both by hand and by machine, they tend to be much calmer when milking by hand, but all are always very relieved just to be milked either way.

Also, once cows are used to the machine, it’s second nature for them. They’re used to it, and they’re just as calm while attaching the udders and throughout milking as other cows are when milking by hand.

arnbev959's avatar

It depends on who the person is, but, for the most part, I’d say by hand. Especially if the same cow is consistently milked by the same person, so that both cow and milker are familiar with each other.

Blondesjon's avatar

Most heifers would prefer to be milked by their calves.

cookieman's avatar

The cow at the farm doesn’t mind either way so long as you buy her dinner first.

OK, seriously: What @Blondesjon said. ^^

DeanV's avatar

Well, if I was a cow I would imagine I would prefer hand… Nobody likes big pokey vacuum like thing tugging at their teets, cows included.

gailcalled's avatar

@dverhey: You’ve never had to use a breast pump, I gather. They are so not fun, but useful when you want to feed your baby breast milk from a bottle. (Or let your husband do it so you can get 4 consecutive hours’ sleep.)

Randy's avatar

I used to milk cows and what it boils down to is that they just like to be milked, period. Cows produce enough milk to be milked twice and day, once every 12 hours, but to me, it seemed like a relief just to get it out. The cows I milked would produce anywhere from 1 to 4 gallons per milking session depending on age, the type of cow and the individual cow it’s self. The cows knew what time they were to be milked and would all gather around the barn at the same time everyday. We milked at 4AM and PM Even the new heifers would do it which makes me think that they wanted it out.

I can say this too, most of the cows would stay calm as long as they were eating the feed which lasted about the amount of time it took for the vacuum to milk them out but when you had to milk them out by hand, you hand to give them more feed or the would get cranky and start to kick at you because it took so much longer.

DeanV's avatar

@gailcalled I certainly have not. I can only imagine.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Randy. . .Whether you’re bringing them in from the pasture, running them through the chute, sorting calves, or milking, there has always got to be that one spook.

Randy's avatar

@Blondesjon or that few in some cases. For such a large animal, the are so fast. And it’s the smashing your hand against the metal bars that really turn those cows into all the colorful names that I felt I had to call them.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Randy . . .Tell me about it. I got my hand crushed so bad once that they had to cut my wedding ring off of me. I have always been amazed at how high they can jump, I’ve replaced more gates that have been crushed by a spooked heifer than any other kind.

Tink's avatar

@dverhey – haha teets?

@The Compassionate Heretic -Well If I was a cow I would prefer hands because the machine thingy might hurt and what if it’s cold goosebumps anyone?

rooeytoo's avatar

From one who has just emerged from being clamped into those hard cold plates of the mammogram machine, I vote for HANDS!!!

And @The_Compassionate_Heretic – I love the inside of your head, your questions are always about things I never knew I wanted to know until you ask them!

Strauss's avatar

@Blondesjon No wonder there’s a folk rhyme about the cow jumping over the moon

@rooeytoo, I’ll let you use my hands to clam…-oops, there goes the dirty old man in me!

casheroo's avatar

Well, using a breast pump feels weird, the sensation is hard to describe. I can’t imagine being a cow, with a large machine, and having all my nipples sucked on at once.
Does it feel good, the relief, for them? If it does, then I guess both ways are okay. I’m sure they might prefer their baby…but I can tell you, if those calves have teeth, then they prefer the machine. lol

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I love the banter between the guys who know about dealing with cows on a personal basis as opposed to the folks that assume to know what an animal would prefer. Very telling about how the human mind works and how we often fool ourselves into believing things that just aren’t true.

Lurve to @Randy and @Blondesjon

LexWordsmith's avatar

neither—instead, by their calves.

LexWordsmith's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra : good point about needing to beware of attributing human motivations to cows. Are you familiar with the work and works of Temple Grandin?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@LexWordsmith nope, I am familiar with animals on a personal basis. I am a country boy, and no matter where I live, I will always remember the lessons I learned growing up rural.

the best one I ever heard was the woman that had a message for hunters. She said that they needed to go to the supermarket to get meat instead of shooting it themselves. Her exact words were, “At the supermarket no animals were harmed to get the meat.” I wonder how that works exactly?!

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