People far from animal husbandry believe that a large udder of a cow or, as a layman's dilettantes express it, indicates a high productivity of the animal. In reality, the external dimensions of the udder are not a sign of high or low yields. Let's analyze together what is the anatomy of this important organ. Plus, you will learn how many cows should have nipples on the udder, how they are located and what the productivity of milk cows actually depends on.
How the udder works
Generally distinguish the classic structure of the udder of the cow and the anomalous. True, besides this, there are still options for small deviations that do not affect productivity, but more on that later.
A normal organ consists of two main oblong lobes, which are located to the right and left of the longitudinal axis. In turn, each of the shares is also divided into 2 halves, but already across. Thus, the udder is divided into 4 sectors, which are commonly called quarters.
The structure of the mammary gland in a cow is sectoral. The tissue that forms the envelope of these sectors is called the stroma, it performs a supporting function, plus there are blood vessels.
The body of the udder is called parenchyma. There are several types of tissues in the parenchyma, but the glandular epithelium, which actually produces milk, is considered the main one. The rest of the tissues bear auxiliary functions, such as stimulation and transportation.
In the lower part of the udder there is a so-called tank for collecting milk. And already from this tank the final product flows through the channels in the nipples. So that the milk does not flow out, there is an arbitrary muscle (sphincter) on each papilla arbitrarily.
Visually, you can see that along the longitudinal axis, the udder is divided in half. Inside there really is a septum, which consists of dense connective tissue. Just this supporting partition largely determines the shape of the udder of a cow. Over time, it stretches and the shape of old cows can change. There are 5 main forms of the mammary gland of a cow.
In dairy cattle, 2 main forms are most often found - it is bath-shaped and cup-shaped. Here the opinions of experts are divided roughly in half. Some believe that a deep bath-shaped udder, in which the length is more than 15% wide, is the most productive.
The latter, on the contrary, defend the cup-shaped variant. Classically, the length in it is only 5% more than the width, although there are cases when this indicator reaches 15%. But the main difference in form. Udder is not so much deep as wide, in the form of a bowl.
The rounded shape with narrowing and close nipples is more characteristic of meat breeds. There is also a "goat udder" and the so-called unripe. In the first case, we have pendulous rear nipples, and in the second - small nipples gathered together.
Number of nipples
The question of how many nipples in a cow in this topic is perhaps the most popular, especially among amateurs. As we already mentioned, 4 nipples are considered classics. But sometimes calves are born with five or even six nipples. Usually these extra nipples are located on the back of the udder.
Among breeders, this is not considered a problem, but large farms do not take such youngsters, and some even reject them. The fact is that cow farms are milked with a four-sow milking machine and if the extra nipples turn out to be working, then there is a probability of their inflammation, which in some cases ends with mastitis. Therefore, such a cow is not desirable for machine milking.
If you are going to milk your cow, then the additional nipples do not play a special role here. By the way, such a cow can cost less. Simply put, for home you can take a breeding animal from good parents for a reasonable price. But keep in mind - if the nipples are spliced, then the stretch can be difficult and the cow will give milk more slowly.
Interestingly, cows with five and six nipples are considered a relative norm, and if an animal has 3 nipples, then this is already an anomaly.
When handing or when the calf sucks milk, the configuration and distance between the nipples are not so important. But for hardware milking cows nipple location is fundamental.
The ideal is the option when the nipples are located in the shape of a regular square with a distance between the transverse and longitudinal pairs of 10-15 cm, an error of 2-3 cm is allowed.
There are cows whose front nipples are wide apart, and the rear ones are slightly drawn together. It is also considered normal when the front and rear nipples are drawn together, and the right and left pairs are apart between each other. Undesirable is the crowding of all 4 nipples.
The problem can be 2 extremes. So if the distance between the nipples is less than 6 cm, it will be hard to put on them teat cups. And if the distance is more than 18 cm, then during milking, the nipples will wrinkle, which will cause discomfort for the animal and a decrease in milk flow. There are 3 distance standards:
- between the front pair rate is 15-18 cm;
- between the rear pair the norm is 6-10 cm;
- the distance between the front and rear pair of nipples is 8-12 cm.
Proper care of the cow's udder is deservedly considered the key to high yields. You can buy a golden cow and a rough, unprofessional approach to a cow's udder “multiply by zero” the probable profit.
Udder is massaged both to dairy breeds of cows and meat, if at the first it leads to an increase in milk yield, then cows of meat breeds after massage, calm down and give more fat milk, which is important for calves and for weight gain.
Fortunately, the massage procedure for the udder of the cow is not complicated. Massage is performed with both hands, soft and smooth movements. Starts and ends with stroking. Usually the whole process takes 30 - 40 seconds. Do not forget that before milkings and after milkings, the udder must be washed and wiped dry.
There is one more thing concerning care - it is absolutely forbidden to remove the teat cups from the nipples until the vacuum is turned off. As well as it is impossible to keep the vacuum on the pre-udder for a long time.
As practice shows, quite often beginner breeders carelessly treat the udder of cows. If you liked the article, share it with your friends and your Like can save beginners from mistakes and alleviate the suffering of Burenka.