Dairy practice

Seven Surprising Dairy Cow Facts.

Dairy farmers take great pride in caring for their dairy cows and keeping them healthy and comfortable.

Photo /courtesy

Here are seven facts about dairy cows that might surprise you.

Dairy cows have four stomachs. Technically, cows only have one stomach, but it has four distinct compartments. It is very difficult than a human stomach, so that’s why people often say cows have stomachs. The first three compartments process feed in a way that people cannot. Due to this unique digestive system, cows have the ability to convert plants human can’t into nutritious milk.

A cow that is milking eats about 100 pounds of feed each day. The feed is typically a combination of grass, grain and mixture of other ingredients like citrus pulp and cotton seeds. These are items that may otherwise be thrown away. We like to think of cows as the ultimate recyclers. The ingredients that we cannot eat can often be nutritious to them.

A cow that is milking drinks about 30 to 50 gallons of water each day. That’s enough water to fill a bathtub. During periods of heat stress, water intake may double.

There are six main breeds of dairy cows. The main breeds are Ayrshire, brown Swiss, Guernsey, holstein, Jersey, and milking shorthorn. A seventh, red and white, is a variation of the holstein breed.

An average Holstein dairy cow weighs about 1,500 pounds. That’s nearly one tonne. A cows size depends on a variety of factors like age, breed, feeding, genetic potential and other factors.

An average dairy cow produces 7 to 9 gallons of milk a day. That’s about 128 glasses of great tasting, nutrient packed goodness.

Cows like it cool. Due to their thick skin, hair and natural insulation, dairy cows prefer temperatures between 40 and 65 F. Farmers in cooler climates have several ways to take care of their cows in the winter, such as closing the barn doors or hanging plastic curtains over the open sides of the barn. During summer, farmers keep their cows cool by turning on their barns fans and water misters

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