Milking first heifers

Milking first heifers

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Probably, even not too experienced cow owners understand that it is difficult to expect high milk production from first-calf heifers. Nevertheless, how much milk the first heifer will be able to milk depends on how much milk she will give in the future. It is important at this stage to build normal relationships with the future breadwinner of the family and understand how she is suitable for this role.

Features of milking first-calf heifers

A cow is not capable of giving milk 365 days a year, as some people far from animal husbandry think. The lactation period begins from the moment of calving and lasts an average of about 300 days. Moreover, for the first 7-10 days, the cow has colostrum and the so-called transitional milk, which is absolutely necessary for full-fledged feeding of the calf, but is not suitable for human consumption due to its too high fat content. Then the so-called milking period lasts about 90 days, during which the maximum amount of annual milk yield is formed - up to 45%. In the next 100 days, the cow during milking gives about 30-35% of milk, but it increases the fat and protein content. And in the remaining 100 days, only 25% of milk can be obtained from a cow, but it is characterized by the maximum content of proteins and fats. This is followed by the so-called dry period (60-65 days), during which the cow rests and recuperates for the next lactation period.

About 2.5-3 months after calving, a cow usually happens to a bull, so that the cycle will repeat again the next year.

Thus, the most important period, which determines both the annual milk yield and the further milk development of the cow, is the time period within 3 months after calving. For first-calf heifers, it is especially important, since it is necessary at the same time:

  • milk her after calving;
  • determine the optimal composition of the food supply;
  • set a suitable care regimen.

Actually correct breeding during this period includes:

  • massage;
  • milking;
  • advance feeding;
  • adherence to a clear daily routine and basic maintenance rules.

How many times to milk a first heifer after calving

Immediately after calving, a large amount of colostrum can accumulate in the udder. In addition, during the first 7-8 days in first-calf heifers, udder edema is often observed, which usually subsides on its own by 8-10 days. Therefore, in order to milk the cow after the first calving, it is recommended to carry out this procedure as often as possible - 5-6 times a day.

If machine milking is used, then it is possible to stop at three milking times a day, but in this case, 1-2 hours after each milking, the first heifer must be milked again with the help of machinery.

Gradually, after the udder edema subsides, the number of milking procedures can be reduced. And go first to 4 milking times, and then to 3 milking times. But when dealing with high-yielding dairy animals, milking less than 3 times a day can negatively affect the overall milk production. Therefore, it is better to stop milking 3 times a day at regular intervals of about 8 hours.

How to milk a first-calf cow

Correct feeding is one of the main components of first-calf milk production, both at home and in industrial conditions. This uses the so-called advance feeding. Its essence lies in the fact that in addition to the usual rate, the feed is regularly supplemented with several components that can increase the milk production of first-calf heifers. Most often, concentrated feed and beets are used for these purposes.

Important! Also, regular supplements of protein feed in the form of bean hay and special concentrates are needed. In addition, regular supplementation of vitamins and minerals is essential.

At the same time, the total amount of supplements for the period of distribution of first-calf heifers can reach:

  • for high-yielding cows (productivity from 25 liters per day) - more than 50%;
  • for all others - not less than 40%.

It makes sense to switch to a new type of feeding no earlier than 10 days after the birth of the calf. Indeed, immediately after calving, the entire body of the first-calf as a whole is slightly weakened, as is the work of the gastrointestinal tract. You cannot immediately put such a load on him, and the mammary glands must normalize their work, otherwise there is a risk of developing mastitis.

From about day 10, you can begin to introduce a new feeding system, adding 1.5-2 additional feed units every week to the standard ration.

Attention! For every liter of milk received from a first-calf, give her 300 g of concentrated supplements.

But the essence of the advance feeding system lies in the fact that the additives must always be fed a little more.

For example, if a first-calf gives 20 liters of milk every day, then you should add as much concentrated feed to her as if she already gives 25 liters. After 4-7 days of such feeding, the milk productivity of the first-calf really goes up and reaches the calculated norm. In this case, it is necessary to increase the amount of added concentrates again. They continue to act in this way until the milk production of the first heifer stops growing. After that, the feed level is maintained at the same level for another 10 days, and then gradually they begin to reduce it to the standard.

As a result of the operation of this feeding system, the initial milk yield of first-calf heifers can be increased by 28-30%.

It is equally important to adhere to a certain regimen in the care of the first heifer. First-calf heifers should be given food at strictly defined intervals. Likewise, milking should take place strictly by the hour. The cows' bodies quickly get used to a certain schedule and begin to produce the maximum amount of milk by those hours when milking takes place. It is very important to give first-calf heifers an unlimited amount of water, changing it to fresh water at least 3 times a day.

During the warm season, it is equally important to send the cows to pasture every day. Since walking in the fresh air also helps to maximize milk yield.

How to milk a first calf

The milking itself and the accompanying massage are the most important elements in the milking of first-calf heifers.

It is very important for most animals to accustom them to this procedure from a very early age. Already from the age of several months, it is advisable to regularly feel and do a light massage of the udder, at the same time rinsing it from possible contamination. If the heifer has not been on the farm since birth, then it is worth starting to accustom her to the milking procedure immediately after meeting her. This will allow you to establish closer contact with the animal and gain its trust even before the first calving. Although rare, there are some individuals who have an overly violent and excitable character and do not let them near their udders until calving. Several ways to deal with this situation will be described below.

It is not always easy to distribute a first-calf at home, and in this case it is difficult to overestimate the importance of udder massage. Massage is able to stimulate blood circulation in the mammary glands and increase milk flow due to the work of special hormones. It can also improve the quality and fat content of milk. Massage before and after milking is especially useful and necessary for first-calf heifers, as they are often slow.

Before milking, a preliminary massage is performed, clasping each of the 4 lobes with both hands. Then:

  • stroke and massage the tissues of the udder from top to bottom and in the opposite direction;
  • slightly raise it on the palms, imitating the movements of a calf, and slightly shake it;
  • they massage the nipples of the first-calf heifers themselves, but without expressing anything.

After the main part of milking has been carried out, a final massage is carried out, which consists of almost the same movements. But in addition, the udder of the first-calf heifers is still kneaded entirely in the direction from the sides to the center and from top to bottom, feeling and removing all possible seals. After that, you can carry out more milking and collect some additional amount of milk.

Finally, the udder of the first-calf heifers is wiped with a damp cloth, then dry with a towel and the nipples are smeared with Vaseline or a special cream after milking.

Milking can be done in two ways:

  • manual;
  • using a milking machine.

Before milking, the udder must be wiped or even washed with warm water and a cloth in the presence of contamination. Then they carry out a massage and only after it they start milking.

Manual milking of first-calf heifers should be done with the so-called fist. That is, the nipple is taken completely into the hand, the thumb and forefinger squeeze its base, and then, by squeezing all the other fingers, a stream of milk is squeezed out of the nipple. At first, the movements must be gentle and gentle, then the milking speed must be increased so that the milk yield is also increased.

First, two lobes are removed, then the next two, or alternating them. Milk should be milked completely, which is very important especially for first-calf heifers. Since it is the complete milking that stimulates the process of milk formation and prevents many diseases of the udder.

The milking machine is usually used on farms where a large number of cows are difficult to milk by hand. But first-calf heifers are still recommended to be milked manually in the first weeks after the birth of calves and only gradually to accustom them to milking with a machine.

In any case, massage procedures before and after milking remain mandatory for first-calf heifers, even if automated milking is used.

How to milk a first heifer if she is beating

Many first-calf heifers are very afraid and do not approve of the milking procedure itself the first time. The most impulsive of them may start banging with their legs or tail.

Of course, it is not so easy to milk a rabid first-calf heifer correctly, even for an experienced owner or hostess. But a combination of gentle treatment with some special techniques will help overcome this problem as well.

One of the techniques that often helps to pacify an obstinate animal is to raise one front leg and tie it to a post by it. Standing only on three limbs, the first calf will not be able to kick and will gradually get used to her new role.

Another technique is to put a piece of heavy cloth dipped in warm water on the back or withers before milking the first heifer. This helps the animal to relax, and it is easier for her to deal with the milking procedure.

How to teach a first heifer to milking using folk methods

For a long time, people have also developed many ways of how to cope with a harmful first-calf heifer, if she does not want to put up with the milking procedure and stand calmly.

Those who want to cope with love, affection and a good relationship can try tying the first heifer by the horns in the stall first. But not very shortly, but so that she simply could not leave the stall. Then they put a container with delicious food in front of her, and gradually they begin to milk out one nipple per mug. After filling, the contents of the mug are immediately poured into a bucket standing nearby. After a couple of times of such milking, you can try milking with two teats. Soon the first-calf will get used to it and there will be no more problems with it.

Another effective method is to collect the folds of the hide on the back and keep them there during milking.

Finally, an interesting, non-violent way to deal with a first-calf during milking is by combing it with a comb with another helper throughout the milking procedure. After a week, the cow gets used to it and stands up without any problems.

What affects the milk production of a cow

Many factors can influence the milk production of a cow:

  1. Breed and heredity. The most dairy ones are Ayrshirskaya, Holshtinskaya.
  2. Age. The milk yield of a cow increases by 5-7 calving, and then gradually decreases.
  3. Health status.
  4. Feed quality and quantity.
  5. The duration of the dry period.
  6. Timely, no later and no early coverage of the heifer.
  7. Udder shape. The most productive are cows with cupped and tub-shaped udders.
  8. The duration of the lactation period. Its increase leads rather to a decrease in the total milk yield in the next season.
  9. Live weight of cows.
  10. Calving season. In winter, milk production increases by 10%.
  11. Udder massage and correct milking.


It is not always easy to milk a first-calf heifer correctly, but with a strong desire, this problem can be dealt with. The main thing is to truly love your animals and spare no time and effort in caring for them.



  1. Leandro

    I should

  2. Narr

    you have withdrawn from the conversation

  3. Rickey

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  4. Dougar

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  5. Tojajas

    Instead of criticizing, advise a solution to the problem.

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