In conversations over the past weekend, along with other places we ‘flitted’ to and fro these last few days while our wireless internet was on the fritz, one major topic has been cows, modern dairy and it’s housing practices. In my attempt to give people the what it is like from the cow side, my example has always been: If you had a Rolodex with pictures on it of every minute of a 24 hour period and that is what that cow saw everyday in exact time and order, her life would be perfect! It is that simple. They love routine same way, same time day after day~!
Such things as coming in to be milked in our small dairy parlor, it’s a very good way to tell if someone’s in heat or possibly sick, simply by the order in which they come in and even the side they come in on. If someone didn’t know the routine of a farm and heard animals bellowing, it doesn’t jusst mean they are hungry. It may be their routine was changed; I’m in a new pen or pasture with new herdmates and each farm is unique!
Much is said about the dislike of big modern dairies where cows are housed inside. On the personal side, I am not a fan BUT I understand the econommics that have driven us to larger farms and instead of throwing all those stats at everyone again, let’s look at it from the cow’s side. Remember, cows are like a super strong 5 yr. old kid who may have hearing problems and just started sign language class!
So…let’s just turn 100 of these kids into a pasture with a pond and some shade trees. It gets to be 90* and they are wearing black shorts and tee shirts. Every one in the pond…Oops, hope that doesn’t turn the water yellow; or brown!! Where are all these flies coming from? Man that dirt under those trees doesn’t look or feel like dirt anymore. Great, Thundershower Mosh Pit!!
Having worked with cows my entire life, I’s say “I’ve seen everything until I see the next thing!” And remember, there is more to a farm than the snapshot we see from the road.
p.s. June is Dairy Month idea…big ‘ol cold glass of milk with a scoop of icecream in it on these hot days goes down Real Cool!!