Cows can be milked by hand or by machine. However, machine milking is common practice on commercial dairy farms because it is faster than milking by hand. It takes about 5-8 minutes to milk a cow by machine.
Cows are milked in rooms called milking parlours, which should be well ventilated. The milking equipment includes four teat cups and a vacuum pump. The cow’s udder is washed and sanitised before milking and all the equipment has to be sanitised too. The farmer can then gently connect the milking machine to the teats.
The milk is pumped to a bulk storage tank where it is refrigerated before being transferred to a tanker truck. Because the tanker truck is also refrigerated, the milk is kept cool while being transported to the dairy. Once the cow has been milked, she returns to the barn to eat and walk around.