Crazy Moos

Moosworthy Information Straight from the Dairy!

Ever Wonder How Cows are Milked

The course of human events can be interesting at times. Back in the days before we had the technology, cows were milked by hand 2 times per day. Then human ingenuity allowed for the development of modern day milking machines that milked cows automatically, and relieved thousands of people from milking cows.

Now technology is again revolutionizing our world. Thanks to technology you can once again milk cows by hand! So what technology once worked to eliminated, technology has now brought back. Isn’t it interesting how these things work out.. 🙂

I was pretty amazed last week to see that the number one app in the Apple app store was an simple app called “Milk the Cow.” The app claims that it is the top app in 20 different countries, and has enabled over 1 million people to milk cows in just one week. That’s a lot of milkers! **the only problem is that people are milking virtual cows… if only we could change that though**

IMG_0524  IMG_0525

**Virtual Teats**

The app is actually pretty amusing. You milk the virtual teat as fast as you can. The timer clocks how long it takes you to fill the pail. So far my fastest time is 15 seconds so I challenge anyone to beat that. I’ve had some real practice though so beware.

Since there seems to be such an interest in how cows are milked, I decided to share the process in pictures and a video. The process is fairly simple –> the cows enter the barn, the milking machines are attached, then the cows wait patiently while chew their cud, when the milking is finished, they happily head back home.

**See in less than 1 minute how cows are milked**

Cow

**On their way to the milk barn**

Walking in the barn

**Walking in the milk barn**

Cows Waiting

**Patiently awaiting while being milked**

Milking by Hand

**You can still milk them by hand**

Attaching the milk machine

**Attaching the machine**

Fresh milk

**Fresh milk**

Filed under: Dairy, Milk Quality, , , , , , ,

The Cows take a Field Trip

**The Herd**

Question – What do you do when you have a large portion of your herd escape their pen at 1am?

Do you:

a. Go back to bed, and deal with it in the morning

b. Panic, and run around with your arms flailing

c. Try to wake up, and go round them up

d. Wake up your brother, tell him to take care of it and go back to bed

I will admit I wanted to choose d. the other night, but unfortunately I’m too nice to do that. There were a series of tumultuous events that took place the other night that led to an inconvenient escape of a bunch of cows on the dairy. (of course it had to happen in the middle of the night)

Just kidding, there weren’t really any series of events, just a broken snap on the gate. Cows are extremely curious creatures, and when they found the gate open, they decided to go exploring. Naturally they moooed out to their friends about their finding, and went off into the dark.

Cows have a very strong herd mentality so they don’t stray randomly in all directions. So that definitely makes it easy to round them all up. They also don’t like straying too far from the lit up areas of the dairy. It’s almost like they are scared of the dark.

They wandered around the dairy for awhile. It was like they were on a sightseeing mission looking for interesting things to see. You could probably equate it to a fieldtrip, except for them it was a literal trip to the field.

It’s a good thing they aren’t hard to round up. In fact, they actually were all heading back towards their pen anyway. That’s where the food is.. So even though they enjoyed the freedom wandering around the dairy, they still preferred their comfortable home. The old saying goes, “there’s no place like home” and I think the cows would definitely agree with that.

Filed under: Dairy, Random, , , ,

May 2011 on the Dairy

DSC01486

Well it was starting to feel like summer here on the dairy not to long ago. Ironically enough, the weather has changed and we are now getting a bit of rain. Luckily we finished harvesting the entire winter crop just in time.

The sunshine was pretty nice when I was out taking these pictures around the dairy. So enjoy the following pictures:

DSC01475

**All the ladies gathering around to see what’s happening**

DSC01491

DSC01476

**Very Nosey…haha**

DSC01488

Filed under: Dairy, Pictures, , , ,

What do Cows Eat: Oats

Summer is here!

It’s the beginning of April, and summer is here! Somehow it seems that we skipped spring this year. It went from rainy and cold to sunny and hot in a matter of days. We’ve been enjoying some great weather here in the California valley so far this month. The temperature swing however has had some detrimental effects on the baby calves though. Unfortunately they don’t like dramatics changes in the weather. The upside is the oats are growing now finally. After a cold winter, they finally have some great sunshine to grow in.

IMG_0726

**Summer is Here @ 91 degrees**

I think I will start a new series of blogs called “what do cows eat.” It may surprise some people what cows actually eat because on the farm, we use a variety of feeds for the cows. California also has a lot of different crops growing, and many of these crops have by-products that we can feed our cows. As a result, our cows get a mix of many different foods.

During the winter months, we grow winter forages like oats and rye grass. These crops grow well during the winter, and give us another feed source when were not growing corn. I guess one difference between organic dairy farming, and modern dairy farming is that instead of grazing the grass, we grow the grass, cut it, and store it all year long for the cows. The oats get pretty tall too. I took some pictures of the oats

IMG_0731

**One of our Oats Fields**

IMG_0733

**If you were really short walking through the field**

IMG_0736

IMG_0743

**Watch the sunset…**

IMG_0742

IMG_0740

**Now its Dark**

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

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!

DSC01341

**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.

DSC01326

**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.

DSC01350

** Farmland and Power Lines**

DSC01348

**The Coastal Mountain Range and Stormy Skies**

**Rice Fields in Northern California**

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

Fun with tongue

I was walking down one of our barns, and spotted this cow entertaining herself. She seemed quite content and was happily playing with her tongue. It was pretty entertaining to me, so I thought I would share.

At the dairy

Filed under: Dairy, , , ,

Getting Ready for the Local County Fair!

Getting ready for the local county fair is always fun, but a lot of work goes into getting the cows and calves ready for the fair. The county fair gives the local community an excellent opportunity to meet local dairy families, and learn more about dairy farms. It’s actually very exciting to help teach people about cows so don’t hesitate to ask questions when you visit!

Fair preparation can be pretty intense. This year we brought 14 cows, calves, and bulls to the fair. Before going to the show, we spent about a whole week getting ready.

All the cows and calves before they can go must get a haircut. Its summertime so they don’t mind losing their extra hair. But it does take awhile to shave each one. The only drawback about shaving is probably getting itchy, you get hair all over.

Shaving the cows and calves is really like sculpting, because the way they are shaved ultimately affects how they will look on show day. The judge who judges the contests is very particular on how they look. It’s like a beauty contest, and the best looking one wins. So really when your shaving, you are trying to hide flaws, and highlight their good qualities.

Every day the cows and calves get to take showers to get clean. Washing the cows and calves makes them shine and look amazing.

There are also many other tricks to make them look perfect. Some are scrubbing toenails, poofing their tail hair, brushing their hair, and cleaning wax and dirt out of their ears. I don’t think many people understand how much work actually goes into getting the cows and calves ready for the fair. But if you do a good job getting the cows and calves ready, it definitely increases their chances on winning the show.

Wow Wow Wubbzy, Wubbzy Wubbzy Wow Wow got his first haircut the other day. I think he enjoyed it actually. I think my sisters had a blast getting him ready. I actually felt sorry for him, all those girls giving him a makeover. Wubbzy wasn’t the only the only one though… Wubbzy’s friend Mavis also suffered the same fate and got an extreme makeover as well. The following picture is Wubbzy (Left) and Mavis (Right). 

Wubbzy exploring the camera

071

Wubbzy after getting shaved, he was exhausted!!

DSC08868


Share/Bookmark

Filed under: County Fair, Dairy, , , , ,

Calves Moove in with Friends

DSC08879

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. 

DSC08891 ed

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!


Share/Bookmark

Filed under: Calves, Dairy, , , , ,

Baby Calf Care on the Dairy

April 2010 022

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.

064 273

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!

185 187 344139

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

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, , , , , , , , ,

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers

Moo Entries

June 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

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**