If you were here beside me I would invite you to stick your finger in there and feel it. Since you’re not, I’ll do it for you! It feels … wet. Thicker than water but not as thick as most lotions. It sticks to my finger and I know that when I clean it off it will leave a stain. But the stain will leave once I’ve washed my hands a time or two! It feels a little cool but not at all unpleasant – no searing pain – no itchiness.
Teat dip is a disinfectant. You can think of it as hand sanitizer for cows. Except instead of using alcohol to kill germs, it uses iodine, hydrogen peroxide, or special forms of chlorine. There are dozens of varieties of teat dip on the market. Some of them are red like this, others are green or even yellow. Red teat dips are usually made with iodine and that is what gives it, its distinct red color. The majority of dairy farms in America use red teat dips just like this.
We use teat dip before AND after we milk Abby. Cows have small opening at the end of each teat where the milk squirts out. Which is important right? We need to be able to get the milk out! The bad part is that bacteria can also get IN this opening and once they are in the udder they can wreak havoc in the form of mastitis (infection of the udder). These little openings (teat sphincters) are controlled by itsy bitsy muscles and are closed most of the day but are open during milking time. So when we dip Abby’s teats with teat dip prior to milking her we are helping to help prevent mastitis and we are also preventing bacteria from getting into the milk that we and the calves are going to drink. When we dip her teats after milking, it is purely for Abby’s benefit – to prevent bacteria from getting in and causing mastitis before her body can get her teat sphincters closed back down! It is important to note that we clean the teat dip off of Abby’s teats with a clean, dry towel before we attach the milking machine so that no teat dip actually gets into the milk!
So to recap:
- Prevent Abby from getting mastitis (infection of the udder)
- Prevent bacteria from getting in the milk that we and the calves drink!
To finish our milking routine:
After we dip Abby with teat dip, we wait 30 seconds for the dip to do its job. Then we clean it off with a clean dry towel. Then we milk a few squirts of milk out of each teat by hand to check the milk and make sure that everything is normal. After that we attach the milking machine ….. and wait. Once the machine is done, then we dip Abby’s teats again.
And that’s it!
Brun Ko Farm