Down on the Farm

Cows 1

Cows 1

Milking Time

A description of Modern Day Farming Methods

When my sister and I went for lunch at a restaurant on a working farm in Yorkshire last June, we were lucky enough to be there at milking time: which was, surprisingly, 2 pm.

We had already visited the calves; see Baby Face, when heading back to the car we noticed all these cows sort of congregating in the field.

Cows 2

Cows 2

They seemed to be lining up in a particular order, as some who were already up on the path were waiting for others to go in front of them. To the right of the muddy part on the photo was a large green field. It was only churned up here where they all gathered for milking.

Cows 3

Cows 3

My sister knew this place, so led me off into a back area and up some steps to a public gallery, where we had a clear view of the whole milking process.

There were two doorways through which the cows could enter. For some reason some were still trying to get in through the middle door that did not open. The side doors opened automatically to let only one cow through at a time, when a milking ‘station’ (for want of a better word) became available.

Cows 4

Cows 4

The cow then walked along till it reached the open gate, and entered the stall. The gate automatically closed behind the cow, shoving its bum in as it did so. It was a very snug fit, as you can see from the photo.

Cows 5

Cows 5

Once inside, an automatic feed dispenser (the large red box thing in the roof area) dropped down a portion of cattle food and the cow contentedly munched away while waiting its turn to be milked.

Cows 6

Cows 6

There were two guys on the floor level between the two rows of cows. They went to each cow in turn and cleaned the udder, before attaching the milking machine.

Cows 7

Cows 7

When a cow had finished being milked the machine partly fell off, so the guys knew then to let them out of the stall. The automatic gate opened on one side when it let the cow in to the stall and opened on the other side to let them out, so the cow just walked into and out of the stall.

Cows 8

Cows 8

Some cows that entered the shed were not allowed into the stall to be milked. I assume they were either too young, or pregnant. The automatic gate closed as they approached and did not open again until they had passed by. The way the gate opened and closed gave them no opportunity to back track into the stall.

Some were quite persistent in waiting there. They wanted the cattle feed in the trough!

You will realise just how automated the whole procedure was by the number of times I’ve written the word automatic. The cows must have been wearing a computerised disc (the orange tag in the first photo) that was scanned as they approached the stall, to decide whether or not this animal would be let in to the stall.

All this is a far cry from the farm I knew as a kid. We’d visit my uncle’s farm and watch the cows milked. They all had names and walked into the same stall each time. We drank fresh, warm milk straight from milking and ate home made butter. All the farmer’s children had chores to do on the farm and had those ruddy cheeks associated with a life lived mostly outdoors. And though I wasn’t exactly a city-slicker, they put me and my siblings to shame. We never did a day’s hard labour.

Fun Cow Facts

  1. Cows are extremely curious and inquisitive animals which will investigate everything.
  2. Cows form close friendships and choose to spend much of their time with a few friends.
  3. Cows have almost full panoramic vision, helping them see predators.
  4. Cows can hold a grudge for years.
  5. Cows become excited when they solve problems (some even jump in the air); for example finding out how to open a door to get food.
  6. Cows spend 10 to 12 hours a day lying down.
  7. Cows have an excellent sense of smell and can detect odours up to 5 miles away.
  8. Cows can hear both low and high frequency sounds beyond human capability.
  9. Cows tend to face either magnetic north or south when grazing or resting, regardless of the sun’s position or the wind’s direction.
  10. Cows share 80% of our genes.

post script: For more info, see Amazing Facts About CowsΒ and 20 Things you didn’t know about Cows.

 

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Down on the Farm

  1. Ady

    I have had my fun watching the cows milked in natural surroundings and playing with calves πŸ™‚ I will have fun in saying the curious facts to my cousin next time I meet her πŸ˜€ And since I share 80% of genes with them, that explains why i used to ‘Mooo’ when our cows ‘Mooed’ upon their return in evenings πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Garfield Hug

    This is such an educational read! Thanks for this. The detailed account of how cows are “pushed” through the whole process of milking is almost like a standard operational procedure (SOP) that you wrote for this farmer. Sell them your SOP so they can print and share with tourists πŸ˜‰ *ka ching $ new “job” for you ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      haha Thank you πŸ™‚ I just found it interesting myself, as I had no idea this was how it is done nowadays. The cows all looked healthy and clean – but still used by us humans.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. faburlifekhloe

    The cow facts are very interesting to me! I basically know none of them before this post. I think there is only a few farms in Hong Kong and we rarely have a chance to get to know these facts. Thank you so much for the informative post Sci! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. Bridgette's Digits πŸ”› An Epic Weight Loss Journey

    Wow… such an interesting post. Cows can hold a grudge for years… now I know where I get it from. LOL πŸ˜‚…and Cows share 80% of our genes. JUST ONE MORE REASON I WENT BACK TO BEING A PROUD VEGAN!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. Mike Fuller Author

        Both uncles miked about thirty five cows using pneumatic milkers but only two at a time and in an open barn. They got up before the sun EVERY day, 365 days a tear and then went back to milk again in the late afternoon. In between they both had jobs in town plus all the maintenance on the farm and planting and harvesting of feeder crops from spring to fall. Hard life.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Rachel M

    My grandfather was also a farmer – pig farmer – but he started out as a dairy farmer and still had a couple of cows when I was little. He used to milk them himself every morning and we sometimes got to help. He would sometimes squirt the milk straight from the cow into our mouths! The calves were also allowed to continue drinking the milk from the mother and were not separated right away as they are now. When I was breastfeeding my own babies I became horrified by how we treat cows now. What if aliens landed on earth and decided human females could provide a good source of nutritious milk for their species. Then they forced us to give birth every 18 months while they took their babies away and killed them and hooked us up to machines a few times a day to extract our milk.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. Midwestern Plant Girl

    From what I understand (not from personal knowledge!) Having full udders is uncomfortable. Cows know where to go for relief. I’ve seen shows about completely auto milking systems. Cow goes in when she wants to or if she shouldn’t be milked for whatever reason, the door doesn’t open. So cool. πŸ„

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. pensitivity101

    Indeed, today’s milking process is a far cry from a lass with a yoke, two buckets and a three legged stool (as my aunt did with her cow Dotty MANY years ago!).
    We had a field trip to a dairy farm when I was about 7. First time I’d seen a cow close up, and I decided then and there that they had lovely eyes. If I remember correctly, it was an automated process, but nothing like your post. Technology has come a long way, and at least these cows were content to munch as they were being milked. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      These cows did seem in very good condition, and the place was very clean. But still brought home the sheer quantities of milk consumed nowadays.

      Like

      Reply
      1. pensitivity101

        You may have read about some of our milk farmers walking their cows through the supermarket to make the point about how little they are paid for each pint (less than the cost of production) πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s