How Does a Cow Make Its Milk?
Cow’s milk is made in a baggy organ called an udder, which hangs from the cow’s stomach. Part of a cow’s diet of grass and grain is used as nourishment for the cow itself, and another part of it becomes milk. Inside a cow’s udder are special milk-making cells that take food materials from the cow’s blood and turn them into milk.
The udder has four compartments which hold the milk. When a cow is milked, milk squirts out through large nipples called teats. Prize dairy cattle can produce from five to eight gallons of fresh milk each day. What a cow eats affects how much milk she makes and how it tastes.
A cow that eats only grass can give about 50 glasses of milk a day. A cow that eats grass, corn, hay and mixed feeds can produce about 100 glasses of milk a day. Cows eat about 90 pounds of nutritious food a day; 90 pounds of food equals about 210 baked potatoes. With all the food they eat and the water they drink they make milk for us to drink.
If you milked cows by hand, one person could milk about eight cows an hour a Dairy could milk about 60 cows an hour with one man and 14 machines. One cow will produce about 200,000 Glasses of milk in her lifetime. The cows need to drink lots of water so they can make milk. Cows drink 25 to 50 gallons of water a day. That is nearly a bathtub full!
Did you know that the milk that the cow gives has two parts to it?
It has nonfat milk and cream. The creamiest part of the milk comes out of the cow during the last part of the milking. If you let the milk sit for a while, it will separate. The cream, because it is lighter, will float to the top.