Milking is the act of removing milk from the mammary glands of an animal, typically cows (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.
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:
- The top of the teat is pinched shut between finger and thumb, trapping milk in the lower part, which is then squeezed by the other fingers, squirting the milk out through the hole in the tip of the teat.
- The top of the teat is pinched shut by the fingers and thumb, which are then slid down the teat, pushing the milk towards the tip.
Most milking in the developed world is done using milking machines. The teat cups are attached to the cow's teats, 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.
Today there exists fully automatic milking machines which give a cow the freedom to choose when to be milked, allowing for a larger amount of milk to be obtained more efficiently.
The breasts of a woman can be 'milked' using a breast pump. This can be done if breastfeeding is not possible, or to store excess breast milk. It can also be done as part of a fetish act or kink, for recreation, or for those expecting children, in order to prepare their mammary glands for their child.
- Automatic milking
- Breast pump
- Bulk tank
- Dairy cattle
- Dairy farming
- Milking pipeline
- Milking the system
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