Life of a dairy cow at the Fairchild Dairy Teaching & Research Center

 

Full Blown Cow
(A CURIOUS COW LIKES THE CAMERA) The Fairchild Dairy Teaching & Research center is home to approximately 200 heifers (young female cows). Each day 70-80 cows are milked twice a day yielding about 800 gallons of milk each day.
Calf
(A CALF RESTING IN THE NURSERY) Every milk producing heifer has to give birth to a calf each year before they can begin producing milk. After the calf is born it is separated from its mother and brought to the nursery. The calf must receive colostrum from their mother within 24 hours for their immune systems to fully develop. Their diet consists of milk or a formula. Calfs can drink up to 10% of their body weight in milk each day. After 2 months they are then transferred to the free stall barn.
Hefers
(TWO YOUNG HEIFERS POSE FOR A PICTURE) The heifers in the free stall barn range in age from 2-18 months. The young heifers (2-3 months) are switched from their milk diet to an enriched corn diet that offers them the essential nutrients and carbohydrates they need to grow. The older cows in the barn (13-18 months) have grown to reach about 1,000 pounds, and within the next 9 months will have their first calfs.
After the birth of their first calf the heifers are finally considered cows. Twice daily they will be brought to the milking parlor where they will be attached to the milking machine. Once the cow begins producing milk it needs to be milked twice daily at relatively the same time to ensure the comfort and health of the cow. If this does not happen the cow will stop producing milk after several uncomfortable days.
(THE MILKING MACHINE) After the birth of their first calf the heifers are finally considered cows. Twice daily they will be brought to the milking parlor where they will be attached to the milking machine. Once the cow begins producing milk it needs to be milked twice daily at relatively the same time to ensure the comfort and health of the cow. If this does not happen the cow will stop producing milk after several uncomfortable days.
(A PRODUCTION COW ADJUSTS TO HER FIRST FEW DAYS IN THE DRY BARN) After about a year of production the the cows are transitioned to the pack or dry barn where they will not be milked. Her the cows are given a shot to help them be more comfortable as they adjust to not being in production anymore. The cows are able to rest on 12-inches of packed saw dust where they can rest unit the 8th or 9th month of their next pregnancy.
(A PRODUCTION COW ADJUSTS TO HER FIRST FEW DAYS IN THE DRY BARN) After about a year of production the the cows are transitioned to the pack or dry barn where they will not be milked. Here the cows are given a shot to help them be more comfortable as they adjust to not being in production anymore. The cows are able to rest on 12-inches of packed saw dust where they can rest unit the 8th or 9th month of their next pregnancy. When they will be put back into the milking cycle.

 

 

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