4 Milking Shells

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Dairy Man gave to me
4: Four milking shells

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3: Three shifts of milking
2: Two orange tractors
1: And a twinkly-light-laden faux tree

The Dairy Man and I struggled to find a way to phrase this one. I wanted to call them “the four thingys that suck the milk of out the cow,” but DM didn’t appreciate my lack of technical phraseology. So, when I say “four milking shells,” I’m talking about the four “arms” of the milking cluster/claw that go to the four teats of a cow. Got that? Warning, if you are offended by the word “teat,” you’ll want to stop reading now. It’s frightening how accustomed I have become to the word. It may even be used at the dinner table. What has become of me?

Anyway. In the past, milking a cow required a stool, a bucket, and a good aim. Modern milking is faster, more efficient, and utilizes a lot of fancy “thingys” …er… machines. Get ready for a quick and dirty explanation of the milking machine. Our parlor has a total of 24 milking units (clusters, claws, thingys, etc). Each of the four “arms” on the unit has a shell with a liner inside.

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The milker (human) starts the milking process by cleaning each cow’s teats with a teat dip to kill any microorganisms. It’s all about clean milk. Duh. After the milker (human) wipes off the dip, he/she attaches the milker (machine) to the four quarters of the cow. Pushing a button turns on a vacuum that opens and closes a rubber liner inside each of the four shells. This pulsating movement makes the milking process very relaxing for our ladies.

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The milker (machine) automatically detaches when the meters sense that the flow rate has decreased. Before the cow heads back to the barn, she gets a post-milking iodine teat treatment that includes a skin conditioner. It’s basically lotion. Yes, some might say that a trip to the milking parlor is a little bit like a trip to the spa for those udders.

After the ladies leave the parlor, they feel as light as a feather and bound back to the barn to eat, nap, eat, poop, eat, socialize, and eat.

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15 thoughts on “4 Milking Shells

    1. I don’t currently have any videos, but I suspect that Dairy Man would LOVE to make one. Great idea! 🙂

      And I’m what I call “a heartfelt supporter” of the milking process, but I’ve never done it myself. At my wedding, another dairy wife told me not to learn because “if you know how to do it, you might be the one they call out to the barn at 3 am!”

  1. Speaking of milking “shells,” my DM is now testing out new milkers that automatically dip the teats before realeasing (one less step for the milker (humans) ). Has your DM heard of this new technology? Here is a link: http://adfmilking.com/en/process/documentary …speaking of videos: our family (as well as two other families) and our dairy farm was recently highlighted in a “Dairy Farmers” promo vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFT-PyS-ZqU
    ~Jadine

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