rambles

animal welfare

This tag is associated with 17 posts

Where do cows sleep?


You might wonder where cows sleep on a modern dairy farm (you might have heard them called factory farms too).

On our dairy farm cows sleep in various places.

Some of our cows sleep in freestall barns:

Cows can lay down in their own individual stall and are free to come and go as they please.

The stalls are cleaned daily, leveled several times a week and new bedding added every 2 weeks. Here is a bit more about making the cow beds. The cows who sleep in these barns also have access to outside corrals in the appropriate weather.

Some of our cows and younger heifers sleep in corrals:

The corrals are groomed weekly to keep them soft, smooth and dry.

Our pregnant cows who will be having their baby calves any day sleep on a bedded pack:

The loafing area for our pregnant cows is cleaned and ready to be refilled with almond shells.

The maternity pen for the expectant cows is cleaned every day however we have to completly change the bedding several times a year. First we remove all the old bedding, then add a little sand to cover the dirt and last we add several inches of almond shells.

The pregnant cows are frolicking in their new bedding.

We also have some animals who sleep in the pasture:

The cows who sleep in the pasture sometimes can nearly hide in plain sight.

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Cow Bling!


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New calves showing off their bling!

On our farm we use eartags to give each animal an unique identifier that allows us to keep important health records for each animal. Here are a few pictures that show the tags up close.

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This is used to apply the tags similar to how ears are pierced for earrings

The tags are applied in a similar fashion to earrings through a soft portion of the ear. Each tag is self contained and is clean and sterile.

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Each tag has 2 parts this is the male part

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Cow bling has a lot of information about the animal

The information of the tags includes our farm brand (starting at the very top of the biggest tag), next is the unique “840” number assigned to only this animal in the United States, followed by the unique number for our farm, in this case 2129. The small white tag has the same numbers and also id an EID tag that contains an RFID information. We currently do not utilize the RFID tag outside of visual use however are we will be implementing the electronic reading in the future to help with efficiency and to eliminate human error.

Curious about the camera, and showing the bling!

Lazy Summer Morning


Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.

Cows chilllin

A few of our cows enjoying the cool morning before a hot summer day here in Central California.

These cows were just moved into this pasture yesterday and are relaxing in the grass. With all the late rains we had here in the Central Valley and now the heat the grass is growing very quickly in the pasture. these cows need to get up and get to work eating it down!

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Cows play in sprinklers? Wordless Wednesday


This started out as a Wordless Wednesday however I decided to add some background information.

Today I’m doing maintenance work on one of the major pieces in our cow comfort system the soakers that help keep the cows cool during the summer.

Here is a picture of the cows enjoying the cool shower just like kids playing in the sprinkler do during the summer.

Cow's on the sprinklers

Cows being cooled by the soaker system.

The soakers come turn on to soak the cows and then are off for a period of time to allow the water to evaporate and creating evaporative cooling. This type of cooling is the same cooling feeling you get right after getting out of a swimming pool on a hot day. We locate the soakers over the cows food so they are more comfortable while eating and their food intake stay’s up during hot days when they need the energy.

Cow Shower

This little box is a great help to keep cows comfortable

This controller uses the temperature at the cow level to adjust the on and off times so the  optimum cooling of the cows is maintained.

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What do you do with all that cow poop?


Many times we get asked the question “What do you do with all the poop from the cows?”.

The pictures below are a visual of how we turn what many think of as waste into a nutrient for our crops in our quest to be a sustainable and friendly to the environment dairy farm.

Cows poop it's just part of nature.

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Making the Cow Beds


Here is a look into what goes into providing the cows on our farm clean soft comfortable beds to lie in. The pictures are from start to finish and show how we take solid manure sterilize and dry it, with a process similar to composting, the finished product is essentially soil we then use for bedding. On our farm we use 95% of the solid manure from the cows as bedding as an effort to recycle all we can and leave a minimal environmental footprint.

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With use the cows tend to mess up their beds, we keep trying to get them to make their beds but to no avail.

Cow Beds

The first thing we do is put down Hydrated Lime to dry out any wet spots, yes cows do occasionally wet the bed.

Cow beds.

Next we mix the Lime in with what we call the Freestall Groomer, we use this piece of equipment 3 times a week to re groom the beds.

Cow Beds

Here is what the beds look like after being groomed.

Changing Cow sheets.

The next piece of equipment adds more bedding to the stalls.

Cow Beds

This is the finished product a clean soft bed for the cows to lie in.

Compost

We use a process similar to composting to dry and sterilize the bedding prior to it's use.

Water therapy for cows.


Water therapy for cows

Using water to help heal injuries

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When cows injure themselves we use this tank to help them recover. The water allows the cow to float and stand without having to support her own weight.

Is going Vegan the answer to farm animal abuse?


NO the answer is to hold animal abusers accountable for their actions and honor those who do the right thing by the animals.

National Dairy FARM is a program created by dairy farmers to set a baseline for animal care and move forward from there, our farm along with many others in the US have embraced this program to help weed out the bad actors.

This afternoon I learned of another undercover video of animal abuse in agriculture and quite honestly I feel let down by fell animal caretakers. I am as horrified as ever that some of the things caught on tape are even happening in agriculture today. There are proper means to euthanize animals to end their suffering, using a hand tool to prolong that suffering is not proper or ethical.

Many farmers like myself and my family spend long hours caring for our animals the proper way only to have one bad actor ruin it for thousands. I personally have given up sleep and meals to make sure the cows came first I know farmers who brave some of the worst weather know to mankind to rescue animals and the thanks we get from another caretaker of animals is a slap in the face. I hope anyone found guilty of any wrongdoing faces the maximum punishment possible.

This is a short post because the more I think about what to write the angrier I get about the whole situation you can read some of my previous thought on animal abuse in some previous posts:

Different undercover footage same reaction from me: Outrage 

Update on the Animal Rights activists use of sensationalism

 
 

Farmers who care about animals.


Here is a compilation of blogs I have seen in response to the Mercy For Animals video of calf abuse from Texas. Coming from those farmers who care greatly for their animals the common themes all the posts have is outrage, anger and disappointment towards those committing the cruelty.

(If I have missed any responses please leave a comment with the link and I will add them)

Ray-Lin Dairy Is going Vegan the Answer to Animal Abuse?

Haley Farms No Mercy For Animal Abuse

Agriculture Proud  Quality Food Begins With Quality Animal Care

Agriculture Proud Video – Ranchers Care About Animal Welfare

Cause Matters The Tears I’ve Shed…. Animal Abuse

Crystal Cattle Animal Abuse in Agriculture

Dairy Innovation Animal abuse: Still a Big No No!

Zweber Farms  Video:Calf Care on Zweber Farms December 2010

Zweber Family Farm News  Calf and Animal Care is our Number One!

Orange Patch Dairy Too mad to go to bed!

killrocfarms Animal abuse: Never acceptable

Pinke Post Link Up Wordless/Wordful Wednesday: Despite Animal Abuse Headlines

Life as an Iowa Farmwife Animal Abuse, Undercover Videos, and Doing the Right Thing

From the Tractor Seat Animal Abuse

The Ole Cowmilkers Random Thoughts Animal Care

Buzzard’s Beat No Excuse

ag – a colorful adventure Hold People to A Higher Standard

Reflections from a Country Boy We Care For Our Livestock!

Loos Tales Interview with the owner of E6 Ranch

Slow Money Farm – Life, Farm, Food Double Standards and Bad Days

Around the Farm Blog Fighting moral fire with moral fire

My View Quality Animal Care

Maricle Minute: Family, Food, & Farm Atrocious!

Jersey [Cow] Girl And So It Goes

Dairy Devotion Why am I doing this?

Pearl Snap’s Ponderings Animal Abuse Unacceptable

Topwinds Dairy Animal Care is Priority

Purple Poke Animal Abuse – Simply Unacceptable

Food For Thought – The Blog  Enraged: Animal Abuse Video

Beef Daily Blog A Rancher’s Letter To You About Animal Abuse

Wag’N Tales Safe at home

A Farm Girl’s Perspective Do those shooting animal abuse videos really have mercy for the animals?

FarmersWife30 Heartbreak and Anger

Loos Tales Nathan Runkle founder Mercy for Animals on E6 Ranch

The Frolicking Farmgirl  No Excuse for Animal Abuse

Haley Farms Why Animal Abuse?

Cow Spots and Tales 100% NOT okay

Northview Dairy And the Badly Ugly

A Dairy Goddess’ Blog Spring, Harvest, Calves And Cheese: A Few Of Dairy Goddesses Favorite Things

Curios Cattle

These heifers are getting nosy with the camera!

Happy 8th Birthday!


Today is a special day in our house according to my dear daughter as she keeps telling me it is because it is her 8th birthday. I tried to convince her it is special because it is the Chinese New Year Day, I must not be very convincing though.  There is a special breakfast being made by mom and dad to be eaten on a special plate, then for lunch a surprise will be delivered by her mom and I.

Little B in front of the Lego Chicago Skyline

Our Little "B" sitting in front of the Chicago Skyline made from legos

Little dairy helper

My daughter helping me check cows

Birthday Plate

A special birthday plate for a special birthday girl!

She loves Jingles!

One of a kind Carousel Horse for a one of a kind girl!

 

*Our kids nicknames are Big B and Little B some how they both ended up with names that start with B so Brsyon and Brielle quickly came to have these special nicknames.

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