50 Dairy Rules

Source:  USDA, “Care of Milk on the Farm” (1897)


1. Read current dairy literature and keep posted on new ideas.

2. Observe and enforce the utmost cleanliness about the cattle, their attendants, the stable, the dairy, and all utensils.

3. A person suffering from any disease, or who has been exposed to a contagious disease, must remain away from the cows and the milk.


4. Keep dairy cattle in a room or building by themselves. It is preferable to have no cellar below and no storage loft above.

5. Stables should be well ventilated, lighted, and drained ; should have tight floors and walls and be plainly constructed.

6. Never use musty or dirty litter.

7. Allow no strong smelling material in the stable for any length of time. Store the manure under cover outside the cow stable and remove it to a distance as often as practicable.

8. Whitewash the stable once or twice a year; use land plaster in the manure gutters daily.

9. Use no dry, dusty feed just previous to milking; if fodder is dusty, sprinkle it before it is fed.

10. Clean and thoroughly air the stable before milking; in hot weather sprinkle the floor.

11. Keep the stable and dairy room in good condition, and then insist that the dairy, factory, or place where the milk goes be kept equally well.


12. Have the herd examined at least twice a year by a skilled veterinarian.

13. Promptly remove from the herd any animal suspected of being in bad health, and reject her milk. Never add an animal to the herd until certain it is free from disease, especially tuberculosis.

14. Do not move cows faster than a comfortable walk while on the way to place of milking or feeding.

15. Never allow the cows to be excited by hard driving, abuse, loud talking, or unnecessary disturbance ; do not expose them to cold or storms.

16. Do not change the feed suddenly.

17. Feed liberally, and use only fresh, palatable feed stuffs : in no case should decomposed or moldy material be used.

18. Provide water in abundance, easy of access, and always pure; fresh, but not too cold.

19. Salt should always be accessible.

20. Do not allow any strong flavored food, like garlic, cabbage, and turnips, to be eaten, except immediately after milking.

21. Clean the entire body of the cow daily. If hair in the region of the udder is not easily kept clean it should be clipped.

22. Do not use the milk within twenty days before calving, nor for three to five days afterwards.


23. The milker should be clean in all respects ; he should not use tobacco ; he should wash and dry his hands just before milking.

24. The milker should wear a clean outer garment, used only when milking, and kept in a clean place at other times.

25. Brush the udder and surrounding parts just before milking, and wipe them with a clean, damp cloth or sponge.

26. Milk quietly, quickly, cleanly, and thoroughly. Cows do not like unnecessary noise or delay. Commence milking at exactly the same hour every morning and evening, and milk the cows in the same order.

27. Throw away (but not on the floor, better, in the gutter) the first few streams from each teat; this milk is very watery and of little value, but it may injure the rest.

28. If in any milking a part of the milk is bloody or stringy or unnatural in appearance, the whole mess should be rejected.

29. Milk with dry hands; never allow the hands to come in contact with the milk.

30. Do not allow dogs, cats, or loafers to be around at milking time.

31. If any accident occurs by which a pail full or partly full of milk becomes dirty, do not try to remedy this by straining, but reject all this milk and rinse the pail.

32. Weigh and record the milk given by each cow, and take a sample morning and night, at least once a week, for testing by the fat test.


33. Remove the milk of every cow at once from the stable to a clean, dry room, where  the air is pure and sweet. Do not allow cans to remain in stables while they are being filled.

34. Strain the milk through a metal gauze and a flannel cloth or layer of cotton as soon as it is drawn.

35. Aerate and cool the milk as soon as strained. If an apparatus for airing and cooling at the same time is not at hand, the milk should be aired first. Thismust be done in pure air, and it should then be cooled to 45 degrees if the milk is for shipment, or to 60 degrees if for home use or delivery to a factory.

36. Never close a can containing warm milk which has not been aerated.

37. If cover is left off the can, a piece of cloth or mosquito netting should be used to keep out insects.

38. If milk is stored, it should be held in tanks of fresh, cold water (renewed daily), in a clean, dry, cold room. Unless it is desired to remove cream, it should be stirred with a tin stirrer often enough to prevent forming a thick cream layer.

39. Keep the nig”ht milk under shelter so rain can not get into the cans. In warm weather hold it in a tank of fresh cold water.

40. Never mix fresh warm milk with that which has been cooled.

41. Do not allow the milk to freeze.

42. Under no circumstances should anything be added to milk to prevent its souring. Cleanliness and cold are the only preventives needed.

43. All milk should be in good condition when delivered. This may make it necessary to deliver twice a day during the hottest weather.

44. When cans are hauled far they should be full, and carried in a spring wagon.

45. In hot weather cover the cans, when moved in a wagon, with a clean wet blanket or canvas.


46. Milk utensils for farm use should be made of metal and have all joints smoothly soldered. Never allow them to become rusty or rough inside.

47. Do not haul waste products back to the farm in the same cans used for delivering milk. When this is unavoidable, insist that the skim milk or whey tank be kept clean.

48. Cans used for the return of skim milk or whey should be emptied and cleaned as soon as they arrive at the farm.

49. Clean all dairy utensils by first thoroughly rinsing them in warm water ; then clean inside and out with a brush and hot water in which a cleaning material is dissolved; then rinse and lastly sterilize by boiling water or steam. Use pure water only.

50. After cleaning, keep utensils, inverted, in pure air, and sun if possible, until wanted for use.


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