Just as cows depend on farmers for care, farmers depend on healthy, milk-producing cows to make their livelihoods and support their families. That means a cow’s health is of the utmost importance.
Here are just a few of the ways dairy farmers take care of their cows.
- Cows are creatures of habit, so farmers keep them happy with a daily routine. If a dairy farmer is running late, cows will often moo to let the farmer know he or she is off schedule.
- The milking barn is a hospitable place. Cows often enjoy a treat during milking, which takes less than 5 minutes with a modern milking machine.
- Cows enjoy generous amounts of hay and grass (cow salad), and a tasty feed ration (cow casserole) made to fit each cow’s nutritional needs.
- Cool, refreshing water is available to cows all day, every day.
- Feed rations are altered periodically based on weather and the cow’s nutritional requirements during each phase of her milking cycle.
- A cow’s udder is thoroughly cleaned, dried and massaged with towels before milking. Disinfectant skin conditioners are applied to the udder before and after milking to keep the cow’s udder healthy.
- Cows’ hooves are trimmed to ensure their feet don’t hurt. It’s like getting a pedicure, minus the polish.
- Dairy farmers entice their cows to rest often by making the lounging areas appealing with bedding, sometimes even soft sand. For a cow, every day is like a day at the beach.
- Cows like cooler weather, so dairy farmers provide fans and water misters on hot summer days to keep their cows cool and comfortable.
- To make sure their cows have the best of everything, dairy farmers hire consultants called Dairy Diagnostic Teams, which include a nutritionist, a veterinarian and a fellow dairy farmer.