Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kids Ask, I Tell...Part 2

Highlighting more great questions from the tours last week, here's a couple more!

3. How come the calves sleep alone in the calf huts? Where's their mommies?
Great question!  Calves are moved to calf huts within hours of birth.  We house our calves in huts, as we do not have an adequate calf barn.  These huts allow us to house our calves individually, protecting them from germs from other calves (like kids in kindergarten).  They are able to stay healthy in these environments.  It may seem lonely, but calves and peak outside their huts and see herd mates down the row.  Each of these huts work like individual "bedrooms" for the calves, where they enjoy space to run around and plenty of soft and dry bedding.  Their mommies, the cows are in the milking barn, where we are able to better care for our cows.  We can focus on giving these cows the nutrition and care that they need after having a calf, instead of the cow worrying about the newborn calf. 

4. Can you drink the milk fresh from the cows?
Well, that's a good question too.  And yes you could drink the milk fresh from a cow, but it would be very warm, about 100 degrees.  It would also be very thick-as most cow's milk has a higher butterfat content that that milk that we buy in the store.  Also, milk from cows should always be pasteurized before people can drink it.  Milk that is pasteurized is guaranteed to be free of disease causing bacteria.  Bacteria is everywhere in food production, pasteurization allows us to insure that those bacteria (good or bad) are not present. I don't know about you, but I would like to drink milk that is cold and free of bacteria

More fun questions to come tomorrow~!


  1. So what do the baby cows drink?

  2. Love my milk raw and icy cold!

  3. I don't want to drink warm milk from cows who stay inside and eat junk food and never see the sunshine and breathe fresh air. How about fresh milk from a natural-raised, outdoor, healthy cow?

  4. Debbie: I was also raised on raw milk (my favorite was milk on cereal-at 38 degrees), however as I have grown older I have come to realize that I would not be willing to take that one in a million chance that I could get sick from drinking raw milk. I would say this is similar to car insurance~I am a good driver, but there are some things out of my control, so I have car insurance, much like milk. I do a great job insuring that my milk is safe, but there is a one in a million chance that something could happen and I couldn't live with myself if someone else got sick from my product-I like having insurance.

    Anonymous: My baby calves drink colostrum (milk from their mothers) for the first 3 days of life. If the cow is suspect to have an illness or looks to be under the weather we choose to use frozen colostrum from other cows in our herd who were in excellent health and produced more colostrum than what their calves could drink. Freezing colostrum allows to always have an excess of supply for all of our newborn calves. After being on colostrum for 3 days, we switch our calves to milk replacer, for the next 45 days, until weaning time. We chose milk replacer because that is what works best for our farm, and we do not have a pasteurizer to feed fresh cows' milk. Milk replacer is much like formula for infants, so please don't critize us for this practice, as we do not prosecute mothers for child abuse if they feed their infants formula.

    Milk leaves all cows warm, but we have a plate cooler and cooling compressors to chill our milk to 38 degrees in a matter of minutes.

    I assure you there is nothing "articial" "unhealthy" or "unnatural" about our cows. Our cows stay inside, but they have plenty of fresh air~we have curtains on our barn which allow the MN winds to blow through on these nice spring days! Our cows see sunshine all of the time! We actually have 16 foot tall openings on our barn which allows natual sunlight to shine into the south side of the barn and onto the cows. The south side of the barn is very popular in the winter time, but in the summer time they prefer to relax under the sprinklers on our feed alley and in the shade of the north side of the barn.

    As for our feed, this is definitely not junk! Our cows have the best feed possible! We work hard each growing season to raise corn and alfalfa as forages for our cows. We chop these crops and store them in silage bags. Our cows enjoy diets which are formulated to meet their every nutritional need. These diets are balanced to make sure our cows have ample calories, protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. We commonly have diets that are 60-65% forage to make sure we have excellent rumen (stomach) health. Our corn, corn silage, alfalfa hay and haylage are all tested for molds and toxins before they are fed to our cows-also insuring that they have the very best! So, I can honestly say that our cows do NOT eat junk.

    I never said that there is anything wrong with outdoors cows, this is just the way that works best for us to raise our healthy cows in our climate, in our state, and considering our farm circumstances. Pasture or not, all cows have to be cared for and in the best of health!

  5. Thank you for showing that there are many ways to care for cows in a healthy and caring manner, while producing a wholesome dairy product.

  6. Zweberfarms: Thanks! As you know, it takes many types of farms to make the dairy industry successful, and at each of these farms, there are farmers who often put the needs of their cows before their own.


I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!