Lactation
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Lactation. The Udder. Milk Production. After birth, milk production peaks and then gradually decreases. Birth of a calf stimulates hormone production which causes milk letdown After approximately 305 days, the cow should “go dry”, or stop producing milk.

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Lactation

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Lactation

Lactation


The udder

The Udder


Milk production

Milk Production

  • After birth, milk production peaks and then gradually decreases. Birth of a calf stimulates hormone production which causes milk letdown

  • After approximately 305 days, the cow should “go dry”, or stop producing milk.

    • If the cow is not re-bred, she will not produce any more milk.

    • An approximate 60-day drying off period is vital to milk production because it allows time for the udder to heal.


Milk production1

Milk Production

  • If the cow is not milked during her 305-day lactation period, she will also “go dry”.

    • Milking, either by hand or mechanically, stimulates milk production over the lactation period


Colostrum

Colostrum

  • Colostrum is the first milk to come from a cow after birth and contains a high concentration of antibodies.

  • The calf’s intestines at birth are very porous, which allows it to absorb the antibodies from the milk.

    • The intestines begin to “close up” from 24-48 hours after birth, so it is imperative that the calf suckles within the first 24 hours of life.

  • The calf must ingest the colostrum in the first 24 hours because colostrum gives the calf immunity against disease


Hormones

Hormones

  • Prolactin is involved in the development and differentiation of mammary gland

  • Oxytocin causes the muscles to contract and squeeze the milk into the milk ducts and toward the teat

  • Epinephrine signals the let down and stopping of milk flow


How does milk travel from udder to milker

How does milk travel from udder to milker?

  • Prolactin stimulates the alveoli cells to produce milk.

  • The milk drains into the lumen of the alveoli.

  • The clusters of alveoli, called lobules, contain ducts that drain into larger ducts. These larger ducts drain into the gland cistern.

  • The milk is stored in the gland cistern.

  • The sphincter muscle prevents the milk from leaking into the teat.


Trends in dairy production

Trends in dairy production

  • In nature, animals only produce enough milk for their offspring. Over time, we have selected high producing animals that have come to produce excess amounts of milk

  • Changes have come about due to improvements in genetics, feeding, and environmental conditions

  • We now have fewer cows with more production, fewer farms with more cows, and more Grade A milk


Why 3 rd world countries don t have dairy cows

Why 3rd world countries don’t have dairy cows

  • They are not adapted to the hotter, drier conditions

  • They require more maintenance than may be available

  • They might not survive limited grazing/feeds that may be available

  • The countries have few to no transportation systems.

  • Households will generally have one or two hardy animals to produce milk for the family

    • Goats


Other dairy animals

Other dairy animals

  • Goats

  • Sheep

    • Goats and sheep can survive on less feed than cows.

    • They can also utilize browse better than cattle.

    • A ewe’s milk has twice the fat and 40% more protein than cow’s milk.

  • Camels

  • Horses


Let down

Let down

  • The hormone oxytocin is released by the pituitary gland into the bloodstream when the udder is stimulated.

  • Oxytocin causes the alveoli to “squeeze” and release the milk.

  • Oxytocin release can be caused by: washing the udder prior to milking, suckling of the calf, or other pleasant stimuli.

  • If an animal becomes frightened or upset, a hormone called epinephrine is released that inhibits milk letdown.


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