For those of you that read our blog and live around the area, you know that we’ve had a little rain this winter…
Ben and I have both said again and again in the past 4 months since we moved the cows to their new farm, it could not have come at a better time. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So let me show you what would have been and was is.
As you can see from the images above, the cows would have been pretty wet. We did have a barn for them to go in during inclement weather conditions, but it really was not large enough for all of them to be comfortable. Even though we have expanded the loafing area 3 times over the past 4 years. Some of the smaller cows probably would have been forced out of the barn and under trees instead. :(
Okay. So now I’ll show you what the cows currently have at their new farm:
The barn at the farm we are renting was built for 100+ cows. We have a mere 37 cows. So they have LOTS of space to spread out and stay dry and cozy when it rains or is yucky out. Their production speaks volumes for how comfortable they are. Their eating habits do as well! When cows are uncomfortable or stressed, they will not lay down during the day to chew their cud. Cud chewing is extremely important! The act of regurgitating their food is what actually feeds ruminents. Essentially, the hay/grass they eat feeds the bacteria in their stomach and the cud feeds the cow. If they don’t lay down to chew their cud, you know they are not happy. These girls, of course, all stood up when I came to take their picture! But were all happily laying down before I pulled the camera out.
The difference in facilities has taken a huge burden of stress off of us. While I still don’t like all the rain and the mud associated with it, this was the first winter since we started farming almost 8 years ago that I was not worried in the slightest about my cows. If it rained at night, I would wake up and think about how miserable my cows must be. Now when I hear rain at night, I can remind myself that my girls are happy in their dry barn. It’s really true: happy cows make more milk. And I can’t tell you how thankful I am that our cows are as happy as can be!