Why should a dairy cow remain standing after milking?


Mastitis can be caused when a cow becomes infected with opportunistic pathogens from material on the ground. The pathogens are able to enter the body due to the increase in diameter of the teat canals during milking. 

After milking, the teat canal remains open for an hour and soft vacuum is formed in the udder after milk is discharged, which draws air, dirt and harmful microorganisms into the teat canal. 

In order to avoid infection, cows should be prevented from lying down during this period after milking. It is important that they are allowed to drink a large amount of fresh water as soon as possible, preferably from group drinking troughs outside the milking facilities. It is best if all cows leaving the milking parlour at any one time are able to drink water together. Upon returning to their rearing group, cows must have full access to a total mixed ration (TMR) on a fodder table. Cows should only lie down in resting boxes once they have eaten. 

This generally leaves enough time after milking for the teat canals to close properly and prevents harmful environmental pathogens from entering the body. 

Note for specialists: 

• Cows should be watered and fed immediately after milking so they remain standing for at least one hour before lying down. 

• Water troughs should be placed in the passageways leading from the milking parlour to the housing areas. 

• There should be fresh feed available on fodder tables. 

• At the critical time shortly before milking, when the teat canals are already open, it is better for cows to remain standing, in a holding yard for example. This will help to prevent pathogens on the ground from entering the teats. 

• It is a good idea to let cows take their time in walkways and passageways before herding them into their rearing groups. Look after your cows and keep track of their health.