Milk appears in a cow as a result of complex chemical reactions that occur with the help of enzymes. Milk formation is a well-coordinated work of the whole organism. The quantity and quality of milk is influenced not only by the breed of the animal, but also by many other factors.
When milk comes from a cow
Lactation is the process of milk production, and the time when a cow can be milked is the lactation period. It is in the power of specialists to correct the work of the mammary glands of the animal and increase the amount of dairy products of cattle.
Milk production in all mammals is promoted to a greater extent by prolactin, a hormone associated with reproduction. It is essential for lactation, promotes the maturation of colostrum and converts it into mature milk. Accordingly, it appears immediately after the birth of the cub, so that he can fully feed. After each feeding, milking, the mammary gland is refilled. If the cow is not milked, then milk stops forming, and milk yield begins to decline.
This also happens in the natural habitat of mammals - as soon as the calf grows up, the need for feeding disappears, lactation begins to decrease.
The cow begins to milk immediately after the first calving. A calf needs to be brought up to it to break the swollen udder. Natural sucking will develop the mammary glands so that milk can be milked better.
The maximum amount of milk a cow gives at 6 years old, then milk production begins to decline.
Does a cow give milk without calving
Since a cow is a mammalian animal, calves feed on mother's milk for the first 3 months of life. They can feed them much longer, but on the farms they are weaned from their mother on the very first day, otherwise it will be much more difficult to do this later. For both the calf and the cow, separation can be very stressful, affecting health and productivity. The calf is placed in a specially equipped calf shed, and the cow is milked by hand and part of it is fed to the baby.
The calf needs breast milk during this period, as it contains all the necessary nutrients for growth and development:
- proteins fats carbohydrates;
- some vitamins (A, B, D, K, E);
- minerals (iodine, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc).
After 3 months, it is transferred to adult feed. The cow is milked until she is pregnant again. In this case, they stop milking her 2 months before the expected calving, so that during this time she gains strength.
In nature, the lactation period in cattle is shorter, since the calf does not eat all the milk, it gradually burns out. And in farms, cows are milked completely, and the body believes that the calf does not have enough milk, so it constantly arrives.
Attention! Full, frequent milking at specific hours stimulates the cow's lactation process.
On average, cows calve once a year, that is, they will produce milk within 10 months. This period, if the cow does not become pregnant again, can be extended to 2 years. True, the volume of dairy products will be significantly lower.
If the cow, after several cases, did not become pregnant for any reason, then there will be no milk from her, she must be discarded.
The process of milk formation in a cow
To understand how milk is formed, you need to know the structure of the udder. It consists of the following parts:
- adipose, muscle, glandular tissue;
- milk and teat tanks;
- sphincter of the nipple;
- blood vessels and nerve endings;
The basis of the gland is parenchyma, connective tissue. It consists of alveoli, in which milk is formed. Connective and adipose tissue protects the gland from negative external influences.
In the process of milk production, nutrients are used, which are delivered to the udder with blood from the digestive system. Those individuals that have a good blood supply are considered highly yielding, because a huge amount of nutrients enter the udder. It is known that for the formation of 1 liter of milk, up to 500 liters of blood passes through the udder.
However, in its basic composition, milk is significantly different from the composition of blood. Almost all of its constituent parts are converted in the alveolar cells of the gland with the help of some substances that get there. Mineral elements, various vitamins come from the blood already in a prepared form. This is due to the glandular cells. They are able to select some substances and prevent others from entering.
The formation process takes place constantly, especially between milking. That is why it is recommended to adhere to a certain regime of keeping cattle so that milking is carried out after a certain period of time.
The nervous system of the animal plays a huge role in milk formation. The secretion depends on its condition. With a change, deterioration of the maintenance regime, stress, the process of milk formation is inhibited.
As it forms, milk fills the cavities of the alveoli, all ducts, channels, then the cisterns. Accumulating in the udder, the tone of smooth muscles decreases, muscle tissue weakens. This prevents severe pressure and promotes milk accumulation. If the interval between milking is more than 12 hours, then too much product accumulates and some inhibition of the activity of the alveoli occurs, respectively, the milk production drops. The rate of milk formation directly depends on the quality and complete milking.
Also, the complex processes include lactation and milk flow, which precede milking.
Lactation - the exit of milk into the cavity of the alveoli and its entry into the ducts and tanks in the intervals between milking.
Milk flow is the reaction of the mammary gland to the milking process, in which milk passes from the alveolar to the cysteral part. This happens under the influence of conditioned and unconditioned reflexes.
Lactation periods in cattle
Lactation is divided into 3 periods, in each of them milk is different in composition, the animal needs a different feeding ration.
- The colostrum period lasts on average about a week. Colostrum is rich in fats, very thick in consistency and undesirable for human consumption. But the calf needs it in the first days of its life. At this time, the baby's digestive and immune systems are laid and colostrum will be a useful food for him.
- Slightly less than 300 days is the period during which the cow produces normal, mature milk.
- The transitional milk period lasts 5-10 days. At this time, the protein level in the product rises, and the lactose content and acidity decrease. The animal is in the process of recovering and the carbohydrates in the feed should be reduced to a minimum.
Lactation periods are individual for each animal, depending on the state of health, nervous system, feeding conditions and housing.
What affects the quantity and quality of milk yield
Many factors affect the performance of a cow. If you want to increase milk yield, you should make sure that the animal belongs to the dairy breed. In any case, after the first calving, the cow will not give more than 10 liters, and with each subsequent pregnancy, the production of the product should increase. To improve the quality and quantity of the product, you must:
- Maintain a certain temperature in the barn, prevent the animal from freezing, so that energy and nutrients are not spent on generating heat.
- Milking should be done at a specific time as the cow gets used to the routine. This mode allows you to collect 10-15% more.
- It is better to milk the cow 3 times a day. With this approach, annual production increases by 20%.
- You should arrange a daily active exercise in nature. After walking, cows have an increased appetite.
- 2 months before the next calving, you need to start the cow to give her the opportunity to rest and gain strength for the next lactation.
Proper balanced nutrition is essential. Feeding should also be done at certain times. The diet is made taking into account the weight, age, physiological state of the animal.
The most competent diet for high-quality milk flow should include:
- hay, straw, green fodder in summer;
- wheat bran, barley;
- mineral and vitamin supplements.
You also need to add beets, zucchini, carrots, boiled potatoes and slices of white bread. In this case, the daily ration should be about 20 kg.
Milk appears from a cow exclusively for feeding offspring - this is how nature works. It depends on the actions of a person how long the lactation period will last, what the milk yield will be in terms of quality and quantity.