Imagine waking up one morning as a dairy farmer. What would your day be like?
5:00 am—Rise and shine!
- Cows need to be milked, fed and looked after in order to remain healthy, highly productive animals.
- Young calves (1-3 months old) are individually fed warm milk from their mothers.
- Older calves are fed hay, grain and water.
9:00 am—Chores to be done!
- Alleys in the barn are cleaned continuously by automatic scrapers while stalls are scraped and cleaned at least twice a day.
- Farmers need to keep records of everything that happens on their farm such as what a cow eats, veterinarian visits, as well as other purchases and schedules.
12:00 Noon—Lunchtime followed by more chores
- Most farms grow their own feed such as hay and grain, so there is much field work that needs to be done in-between milking times.
3:00 pm—Mix daily ration for the next day
- Hay is mixed with grains, silage, protein supplements and vitamins and minerals to make a “total mixed ration” (TMR) for the cows.
- This ration has all the nutrients that the cows need to produce high quality, nutritious milk.
5:00 pm—Cow milking and 2nd Feeding
- Cows are milked in bright, well ventilated rooms called milking parlours.
- Once in the parlour the milking equipment is sanitized and the farmer cleans the cow’s udders before gently placing the milking machine on the teats. It usually takes 5-8 minutes per cow.
- Once the cow has been milked it returns to the barn to eat, walk around, socialize and rest.
- Calving cows need to observed and assisted as needed. Cows will give birth any time of the day, so some nights sleep can be interrupted!
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