The best way to milk a cow by hand is to do it very carefully, of course.
Cows can kick, my friend.
Hand milking is a dying art but it’s still done, despite the invention of the mechanical milker in 1894.
If you’re lucky, the cow you’re hoping to milk has been hand-milked before and is used to being prodded and pulled in that delicate spot. If not, may Io, the goddess of cows, be with you.
Approach the beast with a confident yet insouciant attitude.
It’s best to use a stanchion around the cow’s neck to keep her from turning and biting you or running away, and an anti-kicking device if you’ve got one.
There’s nothing more discouraging than having a nearly full pail kicked over, except, of course, getting kicked yourself.
Cows have been described as having the temperament of a four-year-old child, so giving the cow some hay to keep her occupied is a good idea, too.
After you’ve got her settled in, wash the udder thoroughly with a mild veterinary disinfectant and dry the teats by patting them with a clean towel.
Before using your pail, take your thumb and index finger and squeeze a little milk from each teat into your hand. Inspect it carefully to make sure it looks like milk from the carton and not watery cottage cheese.
It may take a few minutes of this before the cow relaxes and “drops her milk.”
At that point, curl your index finger around the teat and back against your thumb and squeeze to simulate the effect of a sucking calf.
It takes about 340 good squirts to fill a standard milk pail (about five gallons), and most cows produce about one pail a day, so be prepared for your hands to get a good workout.