General Guidelines

  • The duration of lactation depends on age, breed and feeding but generally for a first calver it lasts 8 to 10 months but for an adult heavy milker it may go up to one year.
  • The average daily milk yield for exotic animals varies from 9 to 45 liters in commercial milk production herds.
  • Cows do not yield an equal amount of milk daily throughout the whole of the lactation period. For the first 6 to 12 weeks, the amount steadily increases to peak then may be steady for days up to 2 weeks after which it steadily falls up to end of lactation.
  • Generally, the higher the milk yield, the less the butter-fat content.
  • Dairy cows are usually milked twice a day, high milkers may be milked three times. As far as it is practical, the intervals between successive milkings should be the same.
  • Before commencing milking the cow’s udder must be washed with a disinfectant solution then dried with a clean cloth.
  • The milkers must wash their hands thoroughly with warm water using soap, rinse in clean water, soak in disinfectant solution and dried with a clean cloth.
  • Milking must be carried out quietly, speedily and efficiently.
  • Each udder should be thoroughly stripped as this stimulates more milk production and secondly, the strippings or last milk in the udder is the richest in butter fat.
  • After milking, the milk should be cooled to as low a temperature as possible at the farm.
  • As far as possible, the milker should wear suitable attire including an overall or apron and a cap.
  • After milking, the utensils and milking stools should be kept remarkably clean and kept in a clean place.
  • In general, cows on good ley pastures (planted grass and legumes) will obtain a maintenance ration plus 4.5 liters of milk.
  • Any additional liters of milk will require supplementary feeding of 1kg of compounded dairy meal.
  • A cow requires a very liberal supply of water at 5 liters of water for each liter of milk secreted.

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