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!
We like to do dairy a bit differently- The calves are kept with the cows for the first few weeks- they stay separate from the main herd, in a straw barn. The calves are stronger and cows contented - we often find ourselves watching them together! After this we have a calf shed and they are fed milk twice a day until they are 3 to 4 months old.
They also have hay and pellets as they get older
We are able to keep all of the heifers- little heifers 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!!!
We grow all our own forage here- lots of grass and maize as winter cattle feeds. We return all the farm yard manure to the soil each year to maintain its fertility and grow healthy crops.
There are many miles of hedge rows- dew ponds in the fields- and 100 acres of woodland. We allow the woodland to maintain itself- leaving it to the wildlife that lives there.
Recently we have become members of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) and with their Integrated Farm Management (IFM) points structure we are reviewing the wildlife, bio diversity & soil health here at Plurenden.