In centuries past, milking a cow may have involved a stool, a bucket and patient hands. Today, dairy farms have mechanical aids to help speed up the process of milking and animal care.
A wide range of milking systems are on the market. All usually consist of a pen to keep the cow standing in one place and a four-piece milking device, which is designed to attach to the udders and simulate the suction of a calf. The milk is then transported, via tubes and pipes, to a storage tank.
As a labour-saving device, some dairy farms might use an automated feed machine. To keep the cows calm while being milked, often a feed hopper is within reach of the pen. Automated systems will drop a measured amount of feed into the hopper. The system can also be used outside if farmers supplement the cows' diets.
Dealing with large animals, such as cattle, can be a messy business, especially when a large number are brought inside for milking. Autoscrapers are devices that are designed to run along tracks and clear away the waste produced by the cows. The cattle will often be in pens with their backs to a central walkway; the waste runs off into this area and the scraper cleans it away so it can be dealt with more easily.
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