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, , , , , ,

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!

happy-cows-beakfast

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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Keeping Cows Cool and Comfortable

I took some video earlier this summer and decided to make a short little clip about what we do at the dairy to keep cows cool and comfortable. In California, it often gets pretty hot in the summer and cows do not tolerate heat very well because of their thick skin. Sometimes it gets over 110 degrees in the California valley, so we use a variety of ways to keep our cows cool in the summer.

Our dairy has an advantage that other dairies do not have though so we are pretty lucky. We live near the delta in California, an area that is the waterway to San Francisco. We usually get a pretty cool breeze throughout the day from the air that flows though the delta. The cool breeze that we get is very helpful in the summer.

There are many ways to keep cows cool. Shade is the obvious one. In the video, you can see the much larger barn in the background. That is our newest barn on the dairy, and has been designed to maximize air flow and shield the cows against the sun. The large barn creates an atmosphere that is usually 10 degrees cooler than the outside temperature in the summer. The older barns are less effective, but still provide some protection.

Some dairies use fans, and place them throughout the dairy to help increase airflow to keep the cows cool. On our dairy, we only have fans in the milk barn, but they are very effective in keeping the area cool.

Mister are probably one of the most effective ways to keep the cows cool. At 80 degrees, we turn on the misters. These misters are basically just water lines with little mister nozzles that put out a fine mist. The mist keeps the cows cool.

Although this summer was pretty mild, with very cool temperatures, we still used our misters quite a bit. We want to keep the cows cool because the hot weather will stress them out. When the cows are stressed, they are more susceptible to disease, and produce much less milk. So it is really in our best interest as cow caretakers to keep them comfortable in the summer and protect them from hot temperatures.

The combination of shade, fans, and misters really do keep our cows cool, and help keep these cows happy California cows.

 

Here is the video I made earlier this summer!

Filed under: Cow Comfort, Dairy, , , , , , , ,

Wubbzy, An Example Dairies Care!

Even though there are many animals on our dairy, my little sisters still manage to make them all pets. Wow Wow Wubbzy, Wubbzy Wubbzy Wow Wow (yes, that’s his full name!) is probably one of the smallest little calves on the dairy with the longest name.

I’ll first explain how Wubbzy got his ridiculously long name. If you watch Nickelodeon Jr., there is a cartoon called Wow Wow Wubbzy. There is a whole song about Wubbzy, and my sisters seem to think calf Wubbzy and cartoon Wubbzy look the same… I still don’t see it.

Capture

As I mentioned in my previous post, baby calves have very weak immune systems when they are born, but gradually get stronger with age. Unfortunately Wubbzy got very sick as a small calf, and nearly died. My sister was able to give him an enormous amount of intense care and he miraculously managed to pull out of his illness. Wubbzy somehow worked his way into celebrity status, all the girls on our dairy love him!! 

Because he was so sick for his first few weeks of life, Wubbzy’s growth was severely stunted. Wubbzy was easily one of the smallest in his age group! Of course it didn’t help that he was a Jersey calf. (Jerseys are a breed of dairy cows that are typically smaller than Holstein cows, another dairy breed). Besides being so small, Wubbzy is quite healthy now and growing faster than ever. Wubbzy also has been recruited by my sister to go to the local county fair!

I managed to capture Wubbzy on my Iphone the other day. Wubbzy is the little brown calf who is devouring his lunch. He has a pretty big appetite..

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

Keeping Cows Comfortable is a Dairies Number 1 Priority!

My family has been in the California dairy for over 50 years, and never have we ever sought to hurt or harm the cows on our dairy. As dairymen, it’s in our best interest to treat our animals well.

Viewing the YouTube video about animal abuse that was taken by Mercy For Animals, was extremely hard for me as a dairyman. The fact that people would believe that this is an accurate representation of the dairy industry just sends chills down my spine. As a California dairyman, this video really shocked me as I have never witnessed such brutality in the dairy industry. The individual in the video is clearly a psychopath, and deserves consequences for his actions. Perhaps what surprised me the most was the fact that the individual from Mercy For Animals that was taping the whole event did nothing to stop what was going on. The individual taping the event is equally involved!

On our dairy farm, we have zero tolerance for animal abuse. It is in our best interest to have comfortable, happy cows. Happy cows give the most milk. The following shows 2 solid reasons why hurting and stressing cows and calves is bad for business.

Cows are not stabbed or hit in the milk barn. Stressed cows ultimately equal decreased milk let-down. Milk let-down is the natural process that the cow uses to remove milk from the udder. Milk let-down is caused by two things, stimulus and oxytocin. It generally takes 15 seconds of stimulation by hand or machine to initiate milk let-down. Oxytocin is the natural hormone in all mammals (including human mothers) that causes the muscle cells to contract in the mammary system and squeeze the milk into the milk ducts towards the teats in the udder. Fear and stress interfere with the natural release of oxytocin, and with adrenaline actually blocks the natural action of the hormone oxytocin on the mammary system for 20-30 minutes. In other words, fearful cows cannot initiate milk let-down. For this reason on our dairy, we create a calm relaxing environment for the cows in the milk barn. Go to this link for more information www.cowtime.com.au/technical/QuickNotes/Quick_Note_1_1.pdf

Newborn calves are not beaten when born, but handled with care. Just like you would not beat a newborn baby, we do not beat baby calves. The calf is the dairies future! Calves are handled with care to minimize stress in order to reduce the calf’s susceptibility to diseases. Baby calves have weak immune systems when they are born, but build stronger over time. Therefore intense care is given to the newborn calves to help them grow big and strong. Go to this link for more information http://www.adiawards.com/news_editorial.asp?pgID=675&ed_id=10690

As a dairyman, I feel it’s my duty to be a caretaker of the animals. I hope people realize that animal abuse is not a common practice of modern dairy farms, but instead that dairies care greatly about the well-being of dairy cows. I am responsible for the health and well-being of the cows on my dairy. The cows take care of us when we take care of them. Happy cows equal happy dairymen.

Filed under: Cow Comfort, 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**