There are two kinds of cattle: the
kind that are raised to become beef dinners and the ones that are
raised for milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream.
We will describe beef cows in our Cattle
section. Dairy cows are
treated differently than beef cows.
Some breeds of
dairy cattle are:
and Friesians [most milk], Brown Swiss [high lands],
[rich and creamy milk],
, and the Dairy Shorthorn.
ear tag means that the cow has been registered.
We visited the Makarevich Farm where the cows were all registered
Holsteins. Dairy cows eat hay, corn silage [corn plus
chopped up corn plants], soybeans, and alfalfa. They
are also given ‘protein’ that
is added to their food. When
we visited the farm, we were surprised to hear how much the farmer
has to pay to run a farm. One of those costs is
the protein. We were
told it could cost thousands of dollars a month just for that. This
is why farmers try to grow as much food for their animals as they
called ruminants and can eat
grass and other plants. Their
stomachs have four chambers so that the cow can swallow, get the
food partly digested, and then
bring it back to chew on it again.
The stuff that comes back up is called cud.
[We found that gross, too.]
cattle are not built as heavily as beef cattle but they do have a
wide rib cage. Their
udders are large and hold milk.
Before it can give milk, it has to have a calf, or baby.
Farmers use ‘selective
breeding’ where they choose the parent cow and bull that they
feel will make the best baby.
We will call this the 'chosen' cow.
Embryos are taken from
chosen cows. These are put inside other cows that weren't
chosen ones. They do the hard work of carrying and giving
birth to the calf.
Sometimes, when too many embryos are taken from the chosen cow or
the farmer wants to save some of them for later, they will be
frozen. Mr. Makarevich
told us that this works well and the embryos are just fine when they
are thawed. Females are pregnant for nine months and deliver
the calf without any help.
After it is born, a calf is taken away from its mother.
It is put into a stall by itself and is fed milk by bottle in
the beginning and from a bucket later.
Veterinarians come to the farm when the cows need
to have medical help. Farmers do not take any chances
that the cows might get sick.
farmer takes good care of the cows. In this picture, the cow
is put in a cage that fits close to its body. The cage is
turned until the cow is on its side. Then the veterinarian
will sand off the hooves so that the cow stands right.