10 Ways Dairy Cows Have It Made

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. Cool, refreshing water is available to cows all day, every day.
  5. Feed rations are altered periodically based on weather and the cow’s nutritional requirements during each phase of her milking cycle.
  6. 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.
  7. Cows’ hooves are trimmed to ensure their feet don’t hurt. It’s like getting a pedicure, minus the polish.
  8. 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.
  9. Cows like cooler weather, so dairy farmers provide fans and water misters on hot summer days to keep their cows cool and comfortable.
  10. 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.

Learn more about how milk gets from farm to table.

By Kaci McClatchy Creel

Kaci grew up on a beef cattle and wheat farm and has always had a passion for helping consumers understand farming. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2009. When she's not working, Kaci is spending time with her daughter or traveling. Learn more about Kaci

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