Down and Dirty in the Milking Parlor
“Dr. Walton moved to Corona with the dairies. I called his office to see if I could be a tag along. The first day I shadowed him he took me to a farm store and bought me a pair of rubber boots. One cannot perform dairy work without these boots. There is manure everywhere, sometimes an inch thick, pooling on the concrete runway of the barn. We wore the boots with just socks, no shoes. And Doc always had a pair of coveralls on. Working with dairy cattle meant getting lots of manure on every part of you.”
— Fear Of Failure, Jim Aarons
Here is the feeding rack. The cows can rest and hang out here in between their stints in the parlor. It's obvious that people need boots, and most wear coveralls, but hey, a blouse with pretty prints is always a welcome change.
Cows need to be milked every 12 hours. Usually, this is done between four and five in the morning and four and five in the afternoon. A dairyman’s life rotates around this schedule seven days a week.
The girls have a bite to eat as they give up their milk, eagerly pushing their heads through angled vertical bars on the stanchion to get to the food. They come in readily because tasty feed rations are offered, and once the cows are happily munching food, a lever is moved to lock them into place.
This changes the bars' orientation from wide to narrow, effectively catching the cow at her neck; the space between the two vertical bars now too small for her to pull her head out, and that's what prevents her from backing up and leaving.
Doc’s routine starts after the morning shift when the cows are left in their stanchions inside the milking barn. Doc put his long, plastic sleeve onto his left arm to rectally check each cow in the lineup. Walking up behind the first cow he grabbed the tail a foot or so from the body with his ungloved hand and pushed the tail upward, making the tail flag the sky, leaving the rectal area wide open.
Next, he closed the fingers together in the gloved hand to form a triangular point at the end of his glove. This allowed him to push his hand through the winking butt hole safely.
Once past that first rectal constriction, he opened his hands scooping handfuls of feces backward, making the green shit fall from the rectum to the floor.
"Why do you do that?" I asked.
"It gives me room to maneuver my hand. I need to twist it here and there, and I don't want to be working through this muck every time I rearrange," he replied. He needed room inside so he could safely advance his entire arm up into the cow’s rectum.
Audiobook coming soon