Do you know that Quality milk production begins with feeding your dairy animals’ good fodder to using clean milking equipment? However, while many farmers adhere to the two factors for maximum profit, they forget about offering proper care to the cow’s teats.
Teat management remains a key factor in maintaining the well-being of any dairy animal as it ensures the teats are disease-free. As such, teats must be kept clean and healthy to reduce risks of infection and milk contamination. Well managed teats are free of mud, dung and damaged tissues or sores.
Teats can be infected due to poor handling during milking, particularly when using hands, using faulty milking machines, injuries, muddy and wet surroundings, over exposure to direct sunlight causing sunburn and viral and bacterial attacks.
How to Clean Teats
Proper cleaning involves washing every teat with water and drying using paper towels, mainly before and after milking. Low pressure running or flowing water and use of disposable towels provide the most efficient ways to effectively clean the teats.
The disposable towels minimize the risk of transferring infections to other teats supposing one is infected. Dry, clean piece of cotton cloth/towel can also be used, but they are not encouraged due to hygiene reasons. If they are the only option, then strictly use one piece per animal, wash and rinse with an effective disinfectant after every milking exercise.
Before milking, teats should be wiped completely dry to reduce chances of mastitis and milk contamination. In machine milking, dry teats will hold better onto the teat cups resulting to efficient milking and less damage. Where hand milking is done, the milker’s nails should be short to reduce the chances of causing cuts on the teats and hands should be thoroughly washed and disinfected.
As part of exercise, massage the teat and udder to stimulate milk let-down reflex resulting in faster flow of milk. After milking, apply milking salve then dip each teat in dip-cup to help control bacterial infections like mastitis. Sometimes the teats can be coated with mud or dung, in this case, use running water as you rub them gently until the dirt comes off. Then dry with towel.