Cows With Leaky Teats or Should You Buy a Leaky Faucet?

Someone recently asked ; although I can’t remember who as forgetting names is one of the quirks of aging ; should they buy a beautiful doe eyed Jersey whose only obvious flaw is she had a leaky teat ?

They also wanted to know why teats leak and is it harmful to the cow?

The answer to the first question is a resounding NO! Never buy a cow , goat or any livestock which has anything that is apparently wrong unless you just want to feed one for a pet and not breed and milk her.

There most likely will be things that show up later which were not visible without knowingly buying someone else’s problem. ” Don’t borrow trouble. You’ll have enough of your own.” my Grandma used to say. That is good advice when buying as well as borrowing livestock.

Teats can leak from the weight of the milk in the udder. Dairy cows are bred to be heavy producers. My husband grew up on a dairy farm. He says some cows would start to let down their milk as soon as he touched them to put on the milking machine. Others would see him coming and let down their milk. He would have to hurry before milk was running on the barn floor! Just anticipating the relief of being milked caused the milk to let down.

I hate to make this comparison because Bill has great fun comparing me to a cow! When nursing babies as soon as the baby stirred awake my milk would start flowing! Cows and goats can be the same if they have calves or kids . It is nature and mothers are mothers whether animal or human so I am told! However, when the nursing is done the teat should not leak.

Leaky faucets, as we sometimes call them, can be due to injury also. Cows with huge udders have been known to step on their teats while trying to get up from a laying position causing injury.

There is a little waxy coating on the end of a teat in dry cows and goats. It is just in the end of the teat channel and protects the teat and udder from getting infected . Cows who are milking don’t have this waxy coating but their teats stay clear as they are being milked out dry everyday. A cow that has constant dripping has an opening that can pick up bacteria if she is laying down. She has neither the waxy coating of the dry cow and is never completely milked dry either. This can lead to mastitis or other infections.

When buying a cow or goat look for an udder that is well attached and not pendulous. The front attachment should be high up against the belly. The udder should be wide and not long. The teats should be large enough to grasp easily but not pendulous or tiny. Breeders have over the years bred dairy cows for uniform udders. This is not so with goats. It is much harder to find good attachments in goats.

For a family it is usually best to look for a cow which is not a high producing dairy cow. Instead look for an animal which has had a calf and is a moderate producer. Those high producers are bred to make abnormal amounts of milk sometimes to the detriment of their disposition and health.

Look at the animal’s feet , check the udder and avoid looking in those beautiful soft brown eyes. If you do you may fall in love and come home with a pet instead of a dairy animal to help feed your family!

About lrose

Greetings from " Land's End" in Nova Scotia! My name is Linda Rose. My husband , Bill, and I have been living on and farming organically on a ten acre farm for 23 years now. Bill grew up dairy farming and I grew up and lived in both the city and country. We were married thirty years ago July 9th. and are former Light House Keepers. I am a writer, mother of four, grandmother of two, former dog groomer, hospital worker and now do child care part time. Bill always farmed but also did gardening for others . He was also assitant Light Keeper on Green Island and Bon Portage Island off the south shore of Nova Scotia. We live in what is now called Short Beach on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Many years ago before the first white settlers set foot from their sailing vessels on the rocky shores of Short Beach the natives called this place Kespoogwit. Translated to English it means "lands end" Appropriately named, the land does end a two minute walk from our farm. This is where the Atlantic Ocean beats the rocky shores holding us spell bound. Nature, ever changing, demostrates the puniness of man or woman to the relentless forces of the sea. The forefathers of many people who reside in this area sailed on vessels from England and Scotland. They journeyed to Nova Scotia to begin their lives afresh in a new land. They brought with them only the bare essentials of clothing and tools and in some cases animals. They came men, women and children. Challenged by the weather more than from hostility of the original inhabitants, many a stout man and woman carved homesteads from forested land near the Atlantic. The weather and rocky soil presented obstacles for the original homesteaders and the generations who would follow them. Bill and I came to Short Beach in 1985. I prefer to call our homestead "Land's End". Our journey was much different than that of the first homesteaders who settled here. However our lifestyle is not a whole lot different. We still till the ground and mow the hay with horse drawn implements. I sweep the house with a straw broom and cook on a wood stove. Although ;someone thinking I was missing something gave us an electric stove and fridg; I still prefer my wood stove. Our wood for heat comes from a wood lot and is hauled five miles home with our work horse. Our food is grown organically using mostly simple hand tools to work the soil. The Atlantic continues to hold its observers hypnotized by its sporadic beauty. Tranquil repose is periodically interrupted by furious surging tides, eroding and redefining the shoreline of Short Beach. This is Kespoogwit ; "Land's End". It is our home.

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