Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some Different Cows

Here's a chance to see how good your cow knowledge is. What kind of calves are these? If you need a refresher about different kinds of cows, click here. Then take a good look at the coloring of these calves. 

Okay, if the refresher didn't help much, that's because we don't have this type of cow on the ranch. I guess I'm like one of those mean teachers, trying to get you with a trick question. Don't worry, I do have the answer, it's below the next picture. I just don't want to reveal it too fast, and if you have a big computer screen you'll be able to see the answer before you even have time to think about it. I'm all about suspense.

Answer: These are Holstein calves, and they live at a nearby dairy. Some fun cow facts: Holsteins make up over 95% of the dairy cattle in the U.S. A good milk cow produces about 25 gallons of milk a day, the equivalent of about 400 glasses of milk. In order to be able to produce the milk, the cow has to have a calf, which weighs about 80-110 pounds at birth. The calf is weaned at 8-9 weeks and then the cow's milk is used for production. In the U.S., there are about 110,000 dairy farms with 9.2 million dairy cows. More than 99% are family owned and operated.

Until the 1850s, nearly every family had its own cow and went out and milked it each day. Today we can thank these dairies for providing the milk we drink. To learn how dairies work, you can visit the Fair Oaks Dairy in Indiana, where they even have a virtual tour. The local dairy is much, much smaller, but it still works on the same principal: the cows are milked several times a day, and the milk is sent to a bigger processing plant. As a family that drinks several gallons of milk each week, we sure are grateful to have these cows around!


The Incredible Woody said...

My uncle now owns my grandfather's dairy farm. He runs about 300 head. It is really interesting to visit.

Annette said...

That's a familiar sight! :-)

Caroline said...

When my second son was in the 5th grade he had a steer 4H project. The thing was, his steer was part Holstein so it was HUGE. HUGE head, HUGE heart, and was as sweet as can be.
It was really hard when it came to fair time and the dreaded action….

But, up until then it was a fun year...

Thanks, that was a fun post!!!

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