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!

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