Our cows are a friendly herd- a liquorish allsorts of Pedigree PlurendenManor Holstein Friesians- black and whites and red and whites and Dutch Fleckveihs.
The cows are milked twice a day through a herringbone parlour, all the cows wear a collar with an identification number on- although many also have names!
This feeds they cow while she is milked and allows us to record her milk, calvings, feet trims and any medicine treatments.
They are in the parlour for a few minutes at a time. Our cows calve all year round to ensure a steady milk supply. The fathers are bulls that run with the cows, these black and white bulls are notoriously dangerous so they keep us on our toes!
The baby calves and fresh mums are the most important people in the herd. Cows have a rest period for 2 months before calving where they rest in straw yards and have special diets so they can transition from dry to milking in good health.
All calves are reared, the heifers stay at home and the beef animals at an Aunties farm in Surrey.
We have routine vet visits for health planning and pregnancy diagnosis, and any emergencies (we don't like to many of those). Cows are vaccinated to prevent diseases.
The Key thing we feel to having a successful dairy farm is hygiene- clean beds, clean parlour, clean hands and clean cows give good health and high quality milk!
The babies are fed milk twice a day until they are 12 weeks old (or longer as we love them to grow big and strong!)
They also have hay and pellets as they get older
We are able to keep all of the heifers- little girls to join the milking herd
The bull calves are sold to our Aunties farm at 6 weeks old, where they are reared for 2 years or more for beef
When a calf is born it must have a feed of colostrum with the first 6 hours of life- the colostrum contains essential nutrients that it must have to survive.
We feed our calves using a Milk Bar- this has 5 or 6 teats on and when filled with milk the calves come over to feed.
All cattle have to have Ear tags to identify them- this number stays with them their whole life and is what enables food to be traceable right back to the place of the animal’s birth.
They may try to suck your fingers!!!