The milk productivity of a cow depends on many different factors, such as the breed, the age and health of the animal, the lactation period, etc. No less important is the shape and dimensions of the cow’s mammary glands, the presence of visible milk moves on them. According to the appearance of the mammary gland, an experienced specialist in animal husbandry can determine whether the cow has a high milk yield or refers to the meat direction with low milk productivity.
Location and structure of the udder
The mammary glands of a cow are called udders. The udder is divided into four mammary glands, forming the right and left parts. Parts are divided among themselves by a middle partition. In turn, each half is formed by two lobes in which the ducts for milk removal are located. End of a share with nipples and among themselves they in any way are not informed. This feature of the structure must be taken into account when milking cows. An important point is the release of milk from all parts of the udder, as it can not get from one to the other.
The udder is located in the pelvic area of the cow and is firmly attached to the connective tissue and a whole set of suspending ligaments. Supporting septum dividing the right and left parts of the udder, with the age of the cow becomes less strong and the udder has the property of sagging.
Fabrics forming the udder of a cow
In the structure of the udder, three types of tissues are involved. It is glandular, fatty and connective tissue.
The glandular tissue is formed by a multitude of tiny follicles called alveoli. Their inner part is covered with cells that produce milk. Emerging from the alveoli, the milk passes through the finest channels, which are connected in channels. From the milk canals, it enters the large dairy passages, and then into the ducts, which are connected with the milk cisterns. The tanks themselves end with a nipple with a milk channel located in the middle. To prevent uncontrolled drainage of milk, this channel has in the end a ring of muscles called the sphincter. During the milking process, the sphincter relaxes the compression and allows the extraction of milk.
The fat and connective tissues perform protective functions for the alveoli. The connective tissue forms a kind of support apparatus, it is located directly around the glandular tissue, protecting it from adverse external effects. It is literally permeated with a variety of lymphatic and blood vessels, nerve endings, transmitting various irritations to the central nervous system. It is the connective tissue that divides the udder into separate parts.
1 – the nipple; 2 – milk ducts; 3 – nerves; 4 – sphincter; 5 – milk tank;
6 – connective tissue; 7 – the alveoli; 8 – vein; 9 – an artery.
Fig. Structure of the udder of a cow
Outside, the entire surface of the udder is covered by elastic skin with short soft hairs. In adult cows with high milk yields, this skin is thin and smooth.
Milk production process
To start such a complex process, as milking in the body of a cow, in addition to the work of the mammary gland, the functioning of other systems and organs is also necessary. So, active participation in the production of milk is taken by nutrients delivered to the udder of the cow by the palliative artery and vein. Circulation of blood through the blood vessels and capillaries occurs both from the base of the udder to the nipples, and from one part of the udder to the other. The movement of the fluid along the udder is facilitated by the lymphatic system. At the base of the udder, the lymph glands to which it supplies the liquid are located on each side.
Important for the amount of milk is the hormone prolactin, released into the blood and causing increased milk production. A warm touch to the nipples or sucking their calves irritates the nerve endings that are on the tips of the udder. In addition, there is also a hormone release that promotes milk production.
It is worth noting that the milk producing cells in the alveoli also synthesize proteins and fats from the nutrients that come with the blood.
Structure of the udder of a cow