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Milk let down

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:25 pm
by Bigfoot
Today's silly question, that I should know the answer to, but don't. Can a cow make a conscious decision to not let milk down? I was under the impression that it was hormonal.

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:37 pm
by dun
Bigfoot wrote:Today's silly question, that I should know the answer to, but don't. Can a cow make a conscious decision to not let milk down? I was under the impression that it was hormonal.

Yes they can

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:11 pm
by farmerjan
dun is right; Yes they can. It is hormonal, BUT, nature does something that allows them to not let their milk down; has to do with the oxytocin in their system. One of the vets could do a much better job of explaining the "how tos" of it. But I have found it with the "multi-purpose" nurse cows. If I have a nurse cow that the calf runs with all the time, and I bring her in to milk, she often will not let her milk down, wanting to "save it" for her calf. So what I do is to leave the calf with the cow 12 hours, take it away and milk 12 hours later and then put the calf back in with the cow. Usually they will try to hold it for a day or two, but will learn the system and be fine to milk. Alot of dairy cows will hold their milk for a few days after they calve if the calf is within "earshot" and she can hear it hollering and she is talking back to it. And some don't have an ounce of "mothering" and will let their milk down as soon as they walk in the parlour.

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:43 pm
by Workinonit Farm
Indeed they can and will. Mares will do the same.

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:47 pm
by Bigfoot
Can they do this to the point that they dry up?

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:34 pm
by dun
Bigfoot wrote:Can they do this to the point that they dry up?

I try to never say never but I've never seen it. But with bovines about anything is possible.

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:56 am
by SIMMGAL
farmerjan wrote:dun is right; Yes they can. It is hormonal, BUT, nature does something that allows them to not let their milk down; has to do with the oxytocin in their system. One of the vets could do a much better job of explaining the "how tos" of it. But I have found it with the "multi-purpose" nurse cows. If I have a nurse cow that the calf runs with all the time, and I bring her in to milk, she often will not let her milk down, wanting to "save it" for her calf. So what I do is to leave the calf with the cow 12 hours, take it away and milk 12 hours later and then put the calf back in with the cow. Usually they will try to hold it for a day or two, but will learn the system and be fine to milk. Alot of dairy cows will hold their milk for a few days after they calve if the calf is within "earshot" and she can hear it hollering and she is talking back to it. And some don't have an ounce of "mothering" and will let their milk down as soon as they walk in the parlour.


I've noticed it more with dairy than beef but yes it is possible!


I would tell you an Oxytocin joke, but it's a real let down!
:lol2: :lol2:

Ok that was a bad joke!

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:31 am
by dun
If she is holding it up to the point you are afraid she will go dry there may be other issues at work. Sealed orifices, clabbered milk (mastitis), etc. Usually massaging the udder with a warm damp cloth will induce milk let down.

Re: Milk let down

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:33 am
by Bigfoot
Grafting on to a cow. Went great for 2 days, and been south for a week now. I get the distinct feeling she's holding out. I would add, I'm not beating her, but calf only gets to suck while she's on grain.