What Happens If You Don’t Milk A Cow

Have you heard of this myth before? It’s one of those things that many people say that if you don’t milk a cow, it will die. 

I had never heard of this until a few days ago, and I couldn’t find any proof of that online. 

So what happens if you don’t milk a cow?

What happens if you don’t milk a cow?

It turns out that the saying on what happens if you don’t milk a cow, it will die is true. A cow’s gestation period is 9 months, and it gives birth to a baby calf. 

The motherly instinct in the cow makes her want to nourish her baby with milk from her body, but if no farmer is milking the cow, the milk will accumulate inside its udder and cause problems for the mother.

If a cow a lactating cow, goes for an extended period without being milked, she may suffer bruising, udder harm, sickness, and eventual death (if not milked for a long time).

Human mothers also experience this discomfort whenever their breast is full of milk without their baby or an expressing machine to relieve the pressure.

Finally, if you don’t take out cow milk regularly it may also cause mastitis. According to Merck Vet, clinical mastitis is an inflammatory response to infection-causing visibly abnormal milk (eg, color, fibrin clots).

Can you have cows and not milk them?

Yes. It depends on the kind of cattle you are raising. In the case of dairy cows, they will not produce milk unless they are being milked, but beef cows can be raised without ever having their milk taken.

Some of the best beef cattle breeds are not milked and never have been. They are raised for their meat, and the only time they ever give milk is when they become pregnant and must nourish their young inside of them before they are born.

The best beef cattle breeds are Hereford, Angus, and Shorthorn. All of them have good qualities.

Can a cow’s udder burst?

Udder rupture and infection are possible if a cow does not get milked regularly, or if she has mastitis and the infection and inflammation spread and causes her udder to burst.

Of course, there’s no need for farmers to leave their cows un-milked unless they want the milk for themselves, in which case they either have to milk them regularly or wait until the end of the lactation cycle.

Do cows feel pain when not milked?

Yes. As mentioned above, the immediate consequence is that the udder will be full and possibly painful.  

In the more extreme case, when a cow has not been milked for several days or more, her udder can be so swollen that it causes discomfort and sometimes even breathing difficulties.

If you don’t milk a cow for a week, she will feel pain. 

If a cow is sick and doesn’t get milked, I’m sure she feels like crap. 

If you don’t milk a cow every day, the extra milk inside its udder will turn into harmful bacteria and could kill it.

What happens if you milk a cow too much

What Happens If You Don't Milk A Cow

Now that we have answered what happens if you don’t milk a cow, let’s find out what overmilking does!

According to a study, overmilking can lead to mastitis, a common udder infection. Overmilked cows may also experience discomfort and pain, and their milk production will drop off.

Both overmilking and not milking a cow can cause discomfort to your cows. So the key is knowing how often do you have to milk your cow.

How often do you have to milk a cow?

Milking a cow is required twice a day during its lactation cycle, or 10 months out of the year. If you don’t do this, there could be pain and discomfort which would reduce the amount of milk produced. 

The good news is you can hire someone to milk the cows for you.

The frequency of milking varies from farm to farm and depends on the type of parlor used, the stage of lactation, and milk yield.

Most farmers milk their cows twice a day, morning and evening. If you want to control your cow’s lactation cycle then you have to milk it twice a day.

How do wild cows milk themselves?

If sickness and death will happen if you don’t milk a cow? What happened when cows were not domesticated yet?

Just a few centuries ago, the cow was a far different beast than it is now. Cattle were not much bigger than a big goat nowadays, and the amount of milk they produced was tiny in comparison with today. 

Even a cow that has just given birth to a calf would not have a full udder; it would be soft and only produce enough milk for the calf as well as some extra for the people.

Cows, buffalo, bison, and others are similar in that they can be milked. Because she has a calf to suckle until it is old enough to graze on its own, she will continue to supplement.

She’ll start drying up if she loses her calf but isn’t milked. If a cow is pregnant with the next calf, she will avoid her previous year’s calf from feeding any earlier than needed to prepare for the new one. 

Once sucking has ended, the body recognizes that it no longer needs to lactate and begins to shut it down. All mammals follow a similar pattern.


So now you knew what happens if you don’t milk a cow. There is a truth behind the saying “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” The same is true with cows. 

However, if the cow isn’t milked regularly then she won’t produce as much milk and could burst her udder or get mastitis. It’s a good idea to talk to a vet to ensure that your cow will be okay during the lactation cycles. 

Proper milking techniques can eventually lead to healthy cows and may increase the cow’s lifespan in general.

If you can’t milk your cow yourself, make sure to find someone who can do it for you.

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