I get asked a lot of bovine questions...like...a lot lot lot.
I really don't get asked many cooking questions, political questions or even questions about history...go figure.
But cow questions..bring 'em on.
I have decided to dedicate this post to things I am asked time after time.
Those questions that, until you meet someone in the dairy industry, you would never even think of asking.
Along the way I have decided to pepper this post with pictures.
...I really just wanted to say that...
But really now, I wanted to share with you this little crossbreed fella who tried to head-butt me into next Tuesday...
His name is Maximus Decimus Meridius,and he will have his revenge for being woken up.
Wait...is it woke, or woken? Is woken a word?
I'm ready now.
Q. How much milk does a cow make in a day?
A. Cows are all different. A beef cow, for example, is bred to make only enough milk to feed her young until weaning. A beef calf will nurse small amounts, several times a day. A dairy cow is a totally different critter. She is bred to produce milk not beef, therefore is bred based on milk production. Dairy cows only need to feed their calves colostrum(first milk, rich in antibodies), after that they are separated and the cows are milked 2-3X/day. The dairyman's goal is to feed that cow so that she produces milk for 283 days. Holsteins(the black and white ones) can produce 100-140 lbs in a day, sometimes even more. Jerseys(the little brown ones) produce less, being smaller and all.
Q. Pounds? But I thought they measure in gallons?
YOU buy it according to gallons. We are paid by the pound, or hundred weight. There are 8.66666666666666666666666666666666666 pounds of milk in a gallon.
Q. Why do you keep your cows in a barn instead of outside?
A. I work with my nutritionist to feed my cows a balanced diet. It would be difficult for me to know exactly what they were getting if I turned them out and gave them free-choice feed. It would be cheaper to turn them out, but I would also make less milk and lots of other problems could arise.
It is also nice to keep them out of the heat, and able to stand under the fans in the summer and out of the snow in the winter.
Q. Do cows sweat?
A. Not like we do. When the temperature gets above 60 degrees they start to feel it. Jerseys not as much as Holsteins. If you see a cow panting she is hot, and if I'm around..I'm gonna flipmylid.
Q. Is it really true that you can make a cow walk up stairs but not down?
Mine prefer the elevator.
Actually, that is true. They have no depth-perception, that's why cattle-guards work so well. If you see a cow bobbing her head up and down as you are approaching, she is trying to gauge your distance. Also, if you see a cow avoiding a shadow, it's because she doesn't want to fall into a black hole.
Q. Do you drink your milk?
No. But I would.
I stand behind my cows and my product 100%. There are no "hormones" or "residues" in my milk.
Q. Do you use growth hormones?
Not just NO, but HECK NO.
It is actually illegal for us to sell milk to DFA(Dairy Farmers of America) if we used them, and if we did we would lose our ability to ship milk and be fined. Plus it's bad for the cows. bST or, Bovine Somatotropin is a metabolic protein hormone used to increase milk production in dairy cows. Personally, I don't know ANYone who uses it.
Q. Do you have a calving season?
Nope. Our cows calve year-round.
Q. You talk about treating "sick" cows..what does this mean?
After the cows have their babies, I move them into a group of cows whose milk does not go into the tank, my "sick cows". It actually goes down the drain. The cows in this group could have anything from mastitis, a hoof infection, or maybe they haven't passed all of the placenta after calving. At any rate, these cows are on medicine that has a "milk residue withholding period". Meaning, after you give her the medicine, it is not safe to sell her milk for an X amount of days.
Q. What's your middle name?
A. I'm not telling.
Q. Are you gonna be a farmer forever?
A. Probably, or until ,my comedy career takes off.
Q. Are cows mean?
A. I have never met a mean cow. Mean bulls are a different story. Cows have a "flight zone", and do more reacting that acting.
See mom down there?
She is giving me the classic "I want you to leave" look.
Through all of the pictures she isn't looking at junior..she is looking at me.
Q. Can you really "tip" a cow?
If you believe in cow tipping, then you should try snipe hunting.