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7 ways dairy cows live better than I do

Published on 06 August 2019

My dad is the most selfless and caring person I know. I think he’s so good at it because he practices those traits day in and day out with his cows. Dairy farmers put their cows’ needs before themselves so much that they dedicate their lives to the sole purpose of their cows’ comfort and well-being.

With the social media buzz going around again portraying that dairy farmers mistreat their livestock, it really made me stop and think about all the ways dairy farmers in fact pamper and spoil their cows. Here are just seven I came up with:

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1. Dairy cows are well rested – Cows spend an average of 12 to 14 hours a day just sleeping and relaxing. The rest of their day is spent eating, walking around socializing and being milked. What I wouldn’t give to have 12-hour leisurely days. I’m lucky if I get eight hours of rest, and we know for you farmers it can be much less.

2. Dairy cows have comfy beds – In addition to all the rest our cows get, they also are provided clean, comfy beds made of soft straw, rubber mattresses, sand or even waterbeds to relax on. Dairy farmers are definitely committed to their cows’ comfort, and I couldn’t be more jealous.

3. Dairy cow messes aren’t their problem – Dairy farmers are quick to clean up after their cows. After the cows get up in the morning, their beds are made by the farmer or dairy employees who groom and tidy the sand or straw bedding. Farmers also remove manure from their barns daily using scrapers or skid steers, and some even flush their pens with recycled water. I wish I had a personal maid or butler to help clean my room for me.

4. Dairy cows have their own nutritionists – When was the last time you saw a dietician who provided you a detailed list of the best possible meal plan for your body? Cow nutritionists visit dairy farms regularly to observe their herds’ diets and analyze and test the nutrition quality of the ingredients. Using this information, a dairy nutritionist can ensure the highest nutrient values are being fed and can change the components of the feed to make their herds as healthy as possible.

5. Dairy cows have their own chef – Boy, do I miss the days of getting home-cooked meals by my mom every day. Cows have meals prepared, mixed and served to them daily by dairy farmers who ensure every bite of a cow’s diet is perfectly balanced.

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6. Dairy cows have their own doctor – In addition to a personal maid, nutritionist and chef, dairy cows also have highly trained personnel who monitor their health daily. Cows have veterinarians at their beck and call for routine checkups, tummy aches (acidosis or displaced abomasum) or illnesses such as milk fever.

7. Dairy cows get pedicures – It’s been a while since I have visited the nail salon, but most dairy cows get regular pedicures. A hoof care specialist visits the farm to trim and file cows’ hooves, which are made of keratin, just like our fingernails. Talk about waiting on them hand and hoof.

These are just a few of the ways cows stay at their best thanks to dairy farmers. And, honestly, don’t even get me started on the fancy Fitbit pedometers, electronic hairbrushes and high-tech air conditioning some cows receive.

I will be the first to say our dairy cows have more professional experts looking over them than humans do. You know what? The rest of the world needs to know that too, even if it means personifying our cows. Sometimes people understand or relate more easily when comparing things to themselves. I hope this analogy can be just one more tool to help you explain to others the effort that goes into taking care of our dairy cows.  end mark

Audrey Schmitz
  • Audrey Schmitz

  • Editor
  • Progressive Dairy
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