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Milk, Milking and Dairy Animals

Updated on February 26, 2014

Milk and Milking: Cows Aren't the Only Ones

Most people drink milk and the milk that they drink comes from cows. Cows are kept on farms and the cows are milked twice daily. There was a time when each family had their own cow and knew just where their milk was coming from. Now we purchase our milk in cartons without regard to the animal it comes from.

But did you realize that cows aren't the only ones to produce milk? Yes, we may know that all mammals produce milk but I am speaking of mammals that produce the milk that we as humans drink. Many people drink goat's milk. In fact throughout the world, more people drink goat's milk than cow's milk.

But don't stop there. Milk doesn't come just from cows and goats. This unit study is about all the animals that are milked for their dairy products. You may have heard of many of them but some may surprise you.

Milk comes from cows, goats, sheep, camels, water buffalo etc. Cows aren't the only ones...

Photo Credit: Milking Cow by ednl

Used under creative commons

As with any unit study we begin by brainstorming everything the children know about milk. Where does milk come from? What animals produce milk? Why do we drink milk? Has anyone ever milked a cow?

Some of the statements that my class mentioned were:

Milk comes from cows.

Milk comes from the refrigerator.

Milk is white.

All animals product milk.

Do birds produce milk?

It's hard to get milk to come from the teats of a cow.

You may know that some of these statements are false but it is important for the children to throw out all ideas and then through research and observation discover which statements are true and which ones are false.

The Milk Makers (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Reading Rainbow Books)
The Milk Makers (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Reading Rainbow Books)

The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons is a wonderful introduction to children about cows, dairying and life on a dairy farm. The illustrations invite children to ask question and learn the answers.


Sheep Milking Poll - Sheep's Milk

Sheep's Milk
Sheep's Milk

Photo Credit: Milking a Sheep by memccarthy2

Used under creative commons

Have you ever milked a sheep?

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Have you tried Water Buffalo yogurt? In the book, Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages you will read about an amazing variety of animals that have been milked by humans. Be sure to check out this delightful book.

Each of the following lenses will give insight into the various animals around the world that are kept for their milk. Their milk may be consumed by the family, turned into cheese or eaten as yogurt. Discover all the animals around the world that are milked.

Photo Credit: Milking a water buffalo in Nepal

on Forestry Images

Which kind of animal would you like to try milking?

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Cheese Poll

What is the best thing you can do with milk? Many people think that the best thing to do with milk is to turn it into cheese.

Everyone loves and eats cheese. Some like cheese on pizza in a car on the way to soccer practice. Some like cheese with wine and a baguette in a park in Paris. Do you eat cheese as a midnight snack? Do you eat cheese with milk?

Where do you eat cheese?

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Formaggi Italiani

Riccardo ...

Available on Allposters

What kind of cheese is your favorite?

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Yogurt or Yoghurt Poll

How do you spell it, Yogurt or Yoghurt?

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Barns for Milking - Do animals still live in your barn?

Barn at Royalton Bed and Breakfast
Barn at Royalton Bed and Breakfast

My barn used to house cows, horses, pigs and sheep. It now stands large and lonely wishing for a day when it could again be filled with animals to be milked. Slowly we are fixing up the old buildings here at our Royalton Bed and Breakfast. Some day the old cow stalls may serve as a place for visitors to learn what life was like on a working dairy farm a hundred years ago or so.

Do you own a barn?

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Milk Drinking Poll

drinking a gallon of milk
drinking a gallon of milk

Photo Credit: Drinking Milk by Spree2010

Used under creative commons

Do you drink milk?

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How to Milk a Cow - Milking a Cow by Hand

Wholesome Dairy Farms' technique for milking cows to provide the best udder health.

Buying a Cow Poll - Are you thinking about buying a cow and starting your own micro dairy?

Dairy cattle near Gadbrook Farm
Dairy cattle near Gadbrook Farm

Photo Credit: Dairy cattle near Gadbrook Farm

on Geograph, Creative Commons

How many cows would you like to own?

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Come write about milk and dairy animals on Wizzley, a fun and easy place to express your opinion:


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