Crazy Moos

Moosworthy Information Straight from the Dairy!

Dairymen have Mercy for Animals!

California Calf

**Happy cows really do come from California. This little girl was out basking in the sunshine the other day just working on her tan**

Dairymen give Animals the Best Care Possible

Sometimes as a dairy farmer I am very distraught by the things people say about the dairy industry. We treat animals with respect and give them the best care possible. We depend on them for our livelihood, just as our animals depend on us. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. That’s why it’s hard to listen to people bash us and our industry by saying negative things; condemning us for inhumane treatment of animals while the complete opposite is true.

Recently Mercy for Animals, an animal rights activist group, released some “undercover” video footage of a ranch not treating baby calves right. As a dairyman, I was completely appalled by the footage. I found it extremely disturbing, and it really motivated me to write about this.

I think that the “undercover” video footage that Mercy for Animals puts together is meant to disturb you. They stage these events in order to provoke you, to motivate you to take action. I will admit it is very motivating, because I was extremely disgusted with the video, and cannot bear to let this happen to other animals.

They stage these incidents of animal cruelty themselves in order to promote and push their agenda. Their agenda being that everyone should stop eating products produced by animals. They hate people involved in animal agriculture, and want to erase the industry from society altogether. Since they are a minority opinion though, they need to convince you that people on farms hate their animals and abuse them on a daily basis in order to convince you to take action and join their cause.

I think anyone who knows a local farmer, though, will know that animals are treated very humanely on the farm. I for one can confidently say though that no dairy farmers treat animals the way that Mercy for Animals would have you to believe. There is no motive, or reason for a dairy farmer to treat the animals on their farm inhumanely unless they are truly depraved people.

Dairymen are motivated to treat the baby calves on the dairy humanely because they are the next generation for the farm. Just like you want the best for your children, we want the best for our calves. We treat them well because happy cows really do produce the best milk.

On Our Farm

Let me tell you how we treat the baby calves. When the baby calves are born we put them in hutches so they can have a clean, safe, stress free environment. The reason we separate them from the mother is that the mothers can be very careless at times. The hutches are a safe place where they won’t get stepped on or pushed around by the older cows. If you want to think about it this way, the calf pens are basically big play pens, like a play pen you would keep your toddler in to keep them out of trouble.

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**The Playpens**

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The calves stay in the hutches for about 2 months, and then move into a much larger group pen where they can play with all their friends. During those first few weeks though it’s critical that they remain separated because their immune systems are still developing. Any illness at this point of their life will severely affect their growth so we try to keep them as healthy as possible. We use some basic antibiotics if they get sick, which helps them overcome any illness they might get.

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**My brother and sister out making sure everyone is healthy in the group pen the babies go to after they leave their playpens**

Calves are fed two times every day, morning and afternoon. They get a nice bucket full of milk so they can grow healthy and strong. In addition we have grain bins available in their pens so they have free access to grain whenever they want. Grain is high in protein so the baby calves can grow more quickly. In the summer time when it’s very hot, we also make sure to keep water available to them in addition to the milk they get. Sometimes on the extremely hot days, we give them electrolytes (Gatorade for calves) to keep them properly hydrated. So nutritionally they have a very healthy and sound diet and are always kept fed and well nourished.

The Plain, Simple Truth

It’s important to keep them healthy with a stress free environment and that’s really our primary goal in raising the babies. They are our farms next generation so we make sure to treat them well on our farm! I know for a fact that all other dairy farmers have this same motivation to treat their cows and calves humanely and keep them comfortable.

Mercy for Animals and other animal rights activists definitely have an agenda, which they will enact using any means possible. All I can say is that dairymen have no motivation to treat animals badly. In fact only the opposite is true, we have full motivation to treat animals well. The better care we give to the animals the better they will be at taking care of us, and that’s just the plain simple truth.

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Filed under: Calves, Cow Comfort, Dairy, Dairy Issues, , , , , ,

A Little Moo

On our dairy, we have a lot of little baby calves. My sisters love to play with them. They captured this little Jersey calf playing around. It’s pretty awesome! She jumps around, and lets out a little moo

 

Baby Jersey Lets out a Little Moo

Filed under: Dairy, Dairy Pets, , , , , , ,

Crazy Moo’s Top Posts of 2010

Well 2010 is officially over, and I leaned a few things blogging about dairy last year. The top posting indicate what people are interested in learning about. To be honest, I was a bit surprised to find out so many people were interested in learning if there is antibiotics in their milk. Before I wrote the posting, I just assumed it was common knowledge that there are no antibiotics in milk.

WordPress supplied me with some interesting year end numbers:

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s. In 2010, you wrote 28 new posts, not bad for the first year! You uploaded 166 pictures, taking up a total of 26mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

Your busiest day of the year was July 12th with 152 views. The most popular post that day was Antibiotics in my Milk?.

The following are Crazy Moo’s top postings of 2010!

1 – Antibiotics in my Milk?

Antibiotics in milk

The top Crazy Moos posting of 2010 was Antibiotics in my Milk? This posting sought to explain how antibiotics are used on the dairy farm, how cows treated with antibiotics are separated from the rest of the herd, and that it is illegal for antibiotics to be in our milk. If we ship milk from our dairy farm that has traces of antibiotics, our farm is severely penalized. If it happens more than 3 times, our license to produce milk is taken away. 

I was a bit surprised after doing a quick Google search on the topic. There are many sources of misinformation. In fact, I think the truth on this topic is not very prevalent on the web. I hope more dairy producers write more on the internet about how antibiotics are used on their operations, and how antibiotics can be used responsibly and keep them out of the milk. This posting comes to the top 10 search results if you Google the question, “Are there Antibiotics in my Milk?”

2 – Baby Calf Care on the Dairy

Baby Calf

The next most popular posting was Baby Calf Care on the Dairy. This posting sought to educate people about how we take care of the baby calves on the dairy farm. We treat these babies with the most care we can give because they are the farms future. If you don’t treat calves well, your operation will not be successful in the long run. Along with some good information, this posting also provided an array of cute pictures. Go read it if you haven’t read it yet!

3 – Wubbzy, An Example Dairies Care!

This was on of my first postings that became viral early on. Wow Wow Wubbzy, Wubbzy Wubbzy Wow Wow, the small calf with a horribly long name. This posting remained the top post for many months. After reading the posting, be sure to watch the YouTube clip of Wubbzy of the little guy eating. I only wish I captured more video when he was little! Now he is over a year old and much much bigger.

This posting led to a few other posts about Wubbzy:

Wow Wow Wubbzy goes to the County Fair

Rebellious Wubbzy, Suppressor of the Dull Routine!

Wubbzy the Calf Draws Attention of Actual Wubbzy Cartoon Creator

These are some great reads, so go read them if you haven’t yet!

4 – The U.S. Dairy Industry: On a Mission to Feed the World!

Global Market

Global exports of dairy products are exploding! As developing countries grow wealthier, they begin demanding higher quality food sources. Dairy is one of the first food products countries demand noting it is a great source of protein, calcium, and other beneficial nutrients. So it really does make sense that countries are demanding dairy products.

This makes it a great time to be in the dairy industry. The U.S. dairy industry is at the forefront of milk and dairy production. We know how to produce product. This growing demand overseas gives us the opportunity to feed a hungry world. This is what makes me optimistic about the dairy industry.  Read this blog to find out how the U.S. dairy industry is feeding the world!

5 – Keeping Cows Comfortable is a Dairies Number 1 Priority!

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This was my first blog posting, and relates the incident that really spurred the creation of this blog. Dairymen take care of cows, and don’t want to harm them in any way. In fact, hurting cows is only detrimental to the financial health of the business. Comfortable cows give more milk than uncomfortable cows. It’s a proven fact!

 

I hope you enjoyed the Crazy Moo postings of 2010, and hopefully 2011 will bring some great new posting so stay tuned!

Filed under: Dairy, , , , , , , , , , , ,

A New Home: Christmas Comes Early for our Baby Calves

Christmas has come early for our baby calves. For awhile now, our family has been working on building some new structures on our new ranch to raise the baby calves more comfortably. We had grown out of our old facilities and needed a new place to raise the baby calves. We finally finished building the new facilities so we spent all last week moving heifers to the new ranch. It’s been pretty exciting!

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**The Unloading Chute, the calves walk down the chute from the Trailer to their New Home**

The new barns are state of the art, and I think the heifers will be quite comfortable in their new home. Depending on the weather conditions, the sides of the barns can roll up and down. In the summer the sides will be raised up to promote airflow through the barn, while in much of the winter the sides will be lowered down to protect against wind and rain. In Northern California where the ranch is located, the wind can blow very hard, so the rolling sides will definitely protect the young cows against the hash elements of winter.

Inside the barns, the calves have a large area to run and play in. I’ll admit its pretty fun watching the heifers run to and fro inside the barns.

 

**My sister Watching the Calves Play**

In the barns, the heifers have free access to food and water. Water is freely available in the many water troughs that are located throughout the barn. When they drink out of the troughs, the water valve opens according to the water level in order to re-fill the trough. These water troughs are cleaned periodically to ensure a clean water supply for the calves. Food is also freely available. The heifers are fed corn silage along with a blend of other food stuffs. Corn silage is corn (the entire corn stalks) that have been chopped into fine pieces and fermented. Fermenting the corn silage is basically food preservation, and allows us to have feed available for the heifers year-round. The heifers really love eating the corn silage, and it’s always surprising to see how efficient they are at sorting their food to find the corn kernels.

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**The Calves Eating in their new Home**

Northern California is a very scenic area in California, especially in the winter with the dark stormy skies and puffy clouds. On our drive through NorCal, we took some pretty cool pictures, enjoy.

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** Farmland and Power Lines**

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**The Coastal Mountain Range and Stormy Skies**

**Rice Fields in Northern California**

Filed under: Calves, Dairy, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow Wow Wubbzy Goes to the County Fair

In previous posts, I mentioned that every year our family takes a few cows to the local county fair. The fair, while fun, takes a lot of preparation. It’s essentially a beauty pageant for the cows, and they are judged according to how they look. The kids showing have a direct influence on how the cows look, so if you want to win with your cow, you must work hard to help clean her up.

Washing, clipping hair, scrubbing toenails, and fluffing the tail is just some of the work that needs to be done. Fair time definitely means a time of excessive luxury for the cows.

Wow Wow Wubbzy Wubbzy Wubbzy Wow Wow went to the fair this year. Wubbzy’s growth was stunted when he was just a small calf, so he never grew very big. Usually the bigger the calf is the higher chance of winning the show so we urged my sister not to take him. But how could you not want to take Wubbzy!

Wubbzy was probably one of the smallest calves at the fair. But even though he was small in stature, Wubbzy was enormous in personality. You couldn’t find a more popular calf with the ladies.

Wubbzy had loads of fun at the fair, and my little brother couldn’t help but show Wubbzy around all over the fairgrounds. My little bro took Wubbzy around showing him off.

When it came time for the show, Wubbzy was the calmest calf there. Unfortunately Wubbzy didn’t win, he lost like we all expected. But Wubbzy didn’t care. I think he just likes to think he was a winner from the other end!

Here are some of the pictures from the fair!

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Filed under: County Fair, Dairy, Dairy Pets, Family Farms, , , , ,

Calves Moove in with Friends

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After about 4 weeks of age, the baby calves are moved from the individual pens to larger group pens. Around this age they are strong enough to be on their own. They are usually pretty excited about moving in with friends.

At this point, the calves are no longer allowed milk due to their changing digestive system. The stomach of the calf actually changes to where it cannot digest milk efficiently. I may write this later to explain what actually happens. The digestive system of the calves transitions from a milk diet, to a forage based diet around this age. So the calves are no longer given milk (they sometimes disapprove of this very vocally), but they get to eat some high quality hay and grain instead. The calves at this point are basically expanding their horizons food wise. 

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The reason the calves were in individual pens their first few weeks was to help them develop their immune systems so they can become strong enough to fight off disease. The pens help create a warm dry environment without the danger of spreading disease.

But by 4 weeks of age, the calves have grown significantly, and are strong enough to be with a group of friends. We just moved the next group of calves the other day out of the calf pens and into the group pen. They were pretty happy, and were making a lot of noise.

I captured this humorous video while i was out there!


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Filed under: Calves, Dairy, , , , ,

Baby Calf Care on the Dairy

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Since we are on the topic of calf care, i figured I’d share more about how the baby calves are treated on our dairy. The above picture i think is a good representation of how much we care for the calves. I can assure you that the above picture is not the angel of death, but one of our employees (he wanted to remain anonymous). He was carrying the baby to its new home. 

Calf care makes up a significant portion of the work on our dairy. We feed them milk and water twice a day, feed them grain, nurse sick ones, and periodically add fresh bedding to keep their houses warm and dry. Separating the babies may seem cruel to some people, but i can assure you, we have the calves best interest at heart. The calves are housed separately to create a warm, dry, healthy environment for the calf, and to ensure that it gets the best possible nutrition during its first weeks of life. Because calves have weak immune systems during their first weeks of life, it is critical that they develop and grow strong and healthy in their individual houses.

Calves that are left with their mother usually do not receive an adequate amount of colostrum. When we house them individually, we can help them get the right amount of colostrum and nutrition. Colostrum is the cows first milk after having her baby, and is rich in nutrients and antibodies to help strengthen the immune system.

The following two pictures show the calves in their pens. The calves after a few days learn how to drink freely from the bucket which is filled with milk two times per day. When there is no milk, we provide them with water so they can keep hydrated. The picture with the pens shows the long line of pens. There are a lot of babies on our dairy! The picture of the pens was taken this winter when it was raining. The pens have roofs that flip down to protect the calves from the rain. After the rain stops, we flip the roofs back up so the calves can soak in the warm California sunshine. California sunshine is definitely one  of the key ingredients to raising healthy happy cows.

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The environment we provide for them, aims to keep the stress low, the environment clean, and the food nutritious to develop the strongest calves possible. Sick calves develop much more slowly (read about Webbzy), its in our best interest to ensure they grow well!

4 of my sisters feed calves every day, and love taking care of the calves. They spend a lot of time with them giving them all names. I was going though my picture file and couldn’t find many Holstein calves (the black and white ones). It seems like they like the Jerseys the best (the brown ones) because those were the only pictures i could find!

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Filed under: Calves, Dairy, , , , , , , ,

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Crazy Moos

About Crazy Moos

Welcome to the Crazy Moos blog! Crazy Moos is a play on words, basically trying to create a fun environment (crazy) for dairy news (moos). The overall goal of this blog is to communicate “moosworthy information” (newsworthy information) about the dairy industry and important happening on the dairy farm. Hopefully this blog will help people learn about various aspects of the dairy industry and what happens on the dairy farm. Visit regularly for new blog postings!

About Me

I am a 3rd generation dairyman in California, and our dairy farm really is a reflection of the American dream. My grandfather came to America from Europe after World War II in search of greater opportunities, and a safer place to raise a family. He came to America with hardly anything except his exceptional appreciation for hard work. My grandpa after a few years was able to start his own dairy farm and start producing high quality, nutritious milk. In the 70’s, he moved the operation to a more remote area (our current location), and started growing the herd.

Today, I am actively taking part in the farms daily responsibilities. I’m well qualified to be in the dairy industry, and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the dairy industry having just graduating college with a degrees in dairy science, and dairy processing.

Many people today believe that the dairy industry has been taken over by large corporate farms, but a recent study done shows that most dairies are family owned. In fact, 99% of dairy farms in California are family owned and operated. My whole family is involved on the dairy. My sisters are caretakers of the baby calves, and we guys take care of the cows. There are eight kids in our family, so the dairy is definitely a family affair!

Milk is one of the world’s most nutritious natural products. So many people today are forgetting that milk is filled with many different nutrients, all combined to work in synergy together to maximize the body’s absorption of these nutrients. It’s the perfect blend of nutrients, in nature’s most natural product.

Milk, it’s a natural product, that’s naturally good for you!

**All Pictures, unless specified otherwise, Copyright © 2011 Crazy Moos. All Rights Reserved**