Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cows take baths too!

Show season is here and that means we have to keep our babies looking good to win those blue ribbons and purple banners. One thing we do to better their appearance is wash them. Yes, you read right. We wash our cows!
Starlight getting her first bath.
Wednesday, all of our heifers for this year's show season got to experience their first washing. We wash them multiple times before a show to get them used to the water and because it is easier to clip off all their hair. Once they're adjusted to the water, they love it! A cold bath feels great when it's almost 90 degrees outside.
These are wash supplies: a hose, two wash brushes, a tail comb,
a hoof knife, Orvus (soap) and a water bucket.
The items in the above picture are just a few of the basic things we use when washing. The end of our hose has a spray nozzle so we can control the pressure of the water on the cows. Our wash brushes are mainly used for bodies, legs and faces. The hoof knife scrapes manure off of the cows' feet. Tail combs get tangles and more manure out of their tail. Orvus is the brand of soap we use on our farm. It's a liquid when it's hot and a paste when it's cold. That keeps the soap from freezing and busting in the winter. There are many types of soap out there. In fact, some people use dish soap, or soap you would take a shower with, to wash cows. Different people have different preferences. 

Washing is safe for the cattle and us as long as you do it correctly. Always make sure the animal knows you're there so they don't kick at you when you try to scrape manure off their hooves. Also, if you're are in a wash rack with other people and their animals, always be sure of your surroundings.

I hope to show you some other things this summer that we do to prep our show cattle. They sure are spoiled!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June is Dairy Month: Dairy Makes Sense


Something every dairy farmer looks forward to is the month of June. It's finally summer, the grass is green, the cows get to enjoy their fans and the farmers get some recognition for all their hard work. To me, every month should be dairy month for all those men and women who get up with the chickens to make sure their girls are milked but getting one month with an official name is pretty cool too!

June Dairy Month is also fun for people who aren't farmers. Places all over the country hold events for locals to come out, try new dairy products, meet the area's farmers and maybe even milk a cow by hand!

Here is a video that shows you exactly how long it takes to get milk from the farm to our table:

video

Dairy products are full of nutrition and there are a million different ways to take in those nutrients (yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc.) Farmers also ensure that their cows are healthy and happy to give us safe dairy food items. It makes sense as to why "Dairy Makes Sense"!

Did You Know?
  1. One cow will produce 7-8 gallons of milk each day.
  2. Milk cows eat about 100 pounds in feed a day.
  3. There are 6 main breeds of dairy cattle: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey (my favorites!), Holstein, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn.
  4. Cows have four stomachs so they can digest plants we can't eat, like grass, and turn it into milk.
I hope this post intrigues you to go enjoy a glass of milk and learn more about dairy products and how they are made. For more information on dairy and June Dairy Month visit www.midwestdairy.org or southeastdairy.org. You can also reach me at brileetucker@gmail.com with any questions you might have!
Video "48 Hours in 48 Seconds" belongs to Midwest Dairy Association.