A day in the life of a cow
Life on a dairy farm begins early: dairy farm families are usually up before sunrise. Cows have daily, basic needs: they like fresh food, a clean barn, regular milking, and attention to their health needs.
Cows like a regular routine. First order of business is feeding. A good mix of feed keep cows healthy and producing milk. Their meal of choice is a Total Mixed Ration, or TMR. Think of it as a casserole for cows. It’s a fresh mix of 60% homegrown forages (sort of like pickling or canning hay and corn), corn and soybean for protein, and a mixture of minerals. In cowspeak, this is the perfect bite. Cows may look like they’re moving sloooow, but they are high energy burners. This mix keeps their bovine bodies healthy and strong. You know, like milk does for us.
Then it’s time to be milked. Cows are not hooked up to milking machines constantly. This would interfere with their grazing and exercise and napping. A dairy cow likes a good nap, too, and can rest for up to 14 hours a day. Some farms use robotic milkers to make it easier and more efficient to keep the cows milked three or maybe four times a day. In between times, the milking system has to be washed down, which can take up to an hour. Milking is a feeling of relief and comfort for the cows. Maintaining a schedule and milking the herd at regular intervals (every 8 or 12 hours) keeps the cows comfortable.