Our goal is to keep cows as long as possible and everything we do is centered around keeping cows healthy, comfortable and productive. Sometimes it’s necessary for animals to depart our herd - reason for this are; 1) she is unable to get pregnant and/or a low milk producer, 2) she is sick or injured - the most common sickness is mastitis which causes inflammation of the udder or 3) she dies of natural causes. The average age of a cow on our farm is about 4½ years old. The oldest cow on our farm is over 9 years old.
|Our cows coming out of the milking parlor|
|Cows relaxing on their sand beds|
Why not keep all the cows even if they are no longer productive? It’s not economically feasible. Cows eat about 100 lbs of feed every day. If you feed a high quality diet recommended by a nutritionist, like we do, it costs about $8/cow/day. Feed is only one of the many expenses we incur each month for the health and comfort of our animals. In turn, they produce milk which we sell in order to provide them with feed, bedding, veterinary care, comfortable housing, electricity, etc. These expenses add up to approximately $7/cow/day. So it costs roughly $15/cow/day to own dairy cows. We can’t afford to keep cows that are not productive, we don’t have that luxury.
|Our cows spend many hours each day consuming feed|