Fun Facts About Milk
From the ordinary to the surprising, learn the fun facts about milk your morning glass holds. Considered healthy and delicious, milk comes from a variety of mammals and is a major source of nutrition for all living creatures.
Although it is nearly impossible to pinpoint, most historians believe that using milk as a beverage began about 10,000 years ago when animals were first domesticated. Evidence suggests that this early domestication appeared first in Afghanistan and Iran, then later in Turkey and some areas in Africa. Plymouth Rock colonists brought cattle to America in the 1600s and within 200 years dairies produced large quantities of milk for market in large cities. The 20th century brought new technologies to milk production resulting in safer dairy products worldwide.
Fun Facts about Milk and Cows
- All cows are female. Male cattle are called bulls.
- Dairy cows provide over 90% of the entire planet's milk supply.
- It takes 10 pounds of milk to make a pound of cheese, 21 pounds of milk to make a pound of butter, and 12 pounds of milk to make a single gallon of ice cream.
- Milk costs more than gasoline in many areas of the United States.
- Despite its creamy texture, milk is comprised of 85 to 95 percent water. The rest of its volume comes from nutritious vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and fat.
- It takes about 345 squirts to produce one gallon of milk.
- A cow udder holds between 25 and 50 pounds of pure milk.
- A single cow yields about 90 glasses of milk per day or about 200,000 glasses of milk per lifetime.
- Milk is unique because no other beverage in the world contains as many natural nutrients.
- Young children need the nutrients milk provides because their developing skeletal systems replace bone mass about every two years until they reach maturity.
- Milk was delivered in glass bottles until plastic containers were invented in 1964.
- Milk would not be frothy without its protein content.
- Until the development of milking machines in 1894, farmers only milked about six cows each hour. Today, the average dairy farmer milks more than 100 cows per hour.
- Milk delivery to homes began in 1942.
- Milk pasteurization, which began in the late 1800s, is partly responsible for curbing the tuberculosis epidemic of that time.
Milk from Other Sources
Cows are not the only critters that produce milk for consumption. In fact, the United States is the only country in which cow's milk is more popular than milk from other mammals. Check out these fun facts about milk from non-bovine animals.
Did You Know?
Goat’s milk breaks down during digestion in 20 minutes whereas cow milk takes a full hour.
- Goat’s milk contains more butterfat than cow's milk.
- Each different strain of dairy goat yields a different flavor of milk.
- Goat’s milk is the primary ingredient in cheeses like feta, caprino, gevrik, and rocamadour.
- During early explorations of our planet, sailing ships maintained goats aboard to provide sailors with fresh milk.
Camels or Dromedaries
- Milk from camels is a good staple food because it does not curdle like cow milk.
- Nomadic desert tribes across the world and the Somali people of Africa depend on camel’s milk for their survival.
- Dromedary milk contains six types of fatty acids such as lanolin acid, which helps control wrinkles and condition skin tone.
- Camel’s milk contains high levels of insulin and antibodies that are good for regulating diabetes and other diseases.
- Unlike cow’s milk, camel’s milk is easily digestible for the lactose intolerant population. It also contains more vitamin C than cow’s milk.
Other Milk Sources for Consumption
- Water buffalo
Additional Information about Milk
To learn more fun facts about milk, visit the resources listed below.
- Got Milk?
- National Dairy Council
- Camel Milk USA
- Dairy for All
- Cornell University--Milk and Human Health
By Stacy Taylor