Birth is one of the most exciting times on the dairy. It’s also one of the most critical. Like newborn human babies, calves are more susceptible to diseases, require first milk (colostrum) and need extra care. Each of our farms takes special precautions and care with all calves, from birth to weaning.
In this post we will discuss how the traditional farm cares for calves from birth until they are weaned. Jenny Baerwolf cares for all of the calves on the traditional farm.
What happens after a cow has the baby?
Jenny: After calving, the cow and calf stay in the newborn pen until the cow leaves to get milked. The calf is then taken to the calf barn. In the winter, calves are placed immediately into the warming hut and in the summer they are taken to a clean, new pen in the calf barn.
What are the babies fed?
Jenny: Each calf is given 1 gallon of its mother’s colostrum at birth. If mom doesn’t give a gallon we use a colostrum replacer. We then skip the next feeding. Our calves are fed milk replacer and are fed twice a day, at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., 365 days a year. They drink a 1/2 gallon of milk replacer at each meal and they always have clean, fresh water available. At 10 days of age I introduce grain, they are also trained to drink their milk out of a pail.
Another aspect to raising healthy calves is consistency, consistency. Cows are like big cats, they are creatures of habit. Calves like to be fed at the same time everyday, with the same amount of milk and at the same temperature of 104 degrees.
How do you keep calves comfortable?
Jenny: I strongly believe having fresh, clean water available to my calves at ALL times is one of the secrets to raising strong, healthy calves. Also, we use lots of straw for bedding. The babies like to snuggle up in the straw and sleep. It is very important to keep the calf’s hair coat dry and clean. It keeps them insulated.
When are the calves weaned?
Jenny: Typically, I wean at 6 to 8 weeks of age. The calves are are moved to a group pen; we have three weaning pens. Their pen is a large open area with two feeders, a hayrack ( they get hay for the first time at weaning) and a water tank.
Calves are very demanding! They are born on our farm 24/7, 365 days a year, there are a lot of them and they very challenging to raise, but I LOVE THEM! They are the future of our farm, now who wouldn’t want to invest in that!
Stay tuned to learn about how we care for our calves on our organic farm.
There’s a lot of information on a milk label. The brand of milk, the fat content, where it was bottled. In know your milk terms, we will cover some of the terms that are found on our milk label.
Pasteurization is the method used to kill bacteria in milk and was introduced by scientist Louis Pasteur in the late 1800s. While milk in the cow’s udder is sterile, bacteria can hang out in the teat and on milking equipment and end up in the milk, even with proper cleaning.
These bacteria can cause illness if not destroyed. Pasteurization works by using heat and time to kill the bacteria. The most common type of pasteurization is known as high temperature, short time (HTST), where milk is heated to at least 161 degrees for 15 seconds. This is what we use here at our creamery.
Another type that is gaining popularity is known as ultra pasteurization or UHT. Many organic milks are pasteurized using this type, giving it longer shelf life. Our organic milk uses the same method of pasteurization as our traditional milk, HTST.
The majority of milk in the U.S. is homogenized, meaning the fat is formed into smaller globules so they are suspended evenly throughout the milk. This makes the milk very uniform. Milk that is not homogenized will have a “cream top” since fat will separate out from the rest of the milk and rise to the top. Nothing is added or removed from the milk in this process.
Milk is often referred to as “nature’s most perfect food.” It has carbohydrates, essential vitamins and minerals, quality fats and of course protein.
But did you know milk contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cup serving? That’s more protein per serving than in one medium egg, three slices of bacon or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter; foods traditionally hailed for their protein content.
It’s been widely accepted by health professionals that quality protein helps curb hunger and aids in weight loss. Not to mention protein is the building block for muscle growth and regeneration. New research suggests that consuming quality protein at breakfast may be the best time to eat it. Breakfast is generally a meal heavier on carbohydrates than protein but adding an 8 ounce glass of milk to the meal can easily help accomplish your daily requirement. This also helps keep you fuller longer and you consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Daily requirements will vary from person to person and how active you are. Since the body can only use so much protein at a time, consuming a consistent amount at each meal is the best way to optimize how the body uses protein. To find your daily protein requirement and to learn more, visit the Milk Life website.
Here is an easy and healthy recipe to get your day started with milk!
Overnight oats are an easy, healthy and hearty breakfast. Pair with a large hard-boiled egg on the side and enjoy your breakfast with an ice cold glass of milk!
1/2 cup – milk
1/4 teaspoon – vanilla extract
1/3 cup – oats
2 tablespoons – sliced almonds
1/4 cup – fresh blueberries
1 – hard boiled egg
1 cup – fat free milk
In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix in 1/3 cup oats and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top oats with 1/4 cup fresh blueberries and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds.
We here at Sassy Cow have a very unique farm set up that allows us to offer both organic and traditional milk. But what’s the difference between the two?
To start, let’s look at how they are similar. Both farms are family owned and operated by the Baerwolf Family and both provide nutritious, delicious and safe milk. All animals, whether organic or traditional, receive the best care possible and are treated with respect. Neither dairy uses rBST (the bovine growth hormone) and never will. In fact, rBST is not allowed in organic dairy production.
The main difference between the two herds is how the crops used for feed are grown. All crops grown to feed the organic herd must also be organically grown, so grown without the use of herbicides or commercial fertilizers. Additionally, 30 percent of the organic cow’s’ diet must come from pasture. Note that grazing is really only feasible in the warm summer months. On the traditional farm, crops grown to feed the traditional cows are grown on land that is treated to kill weeds. No matter what farm the cows are on, all crops are produced responsibly and safely. This ensures quality food for our girls.
Another difference are the tools available to treat illness or infection. Antibiotics are not allowed to be administered to organic cows. Antibiotics can be used to treat illness or infections at our traditional farm under the guidance of a veterinarian. For example, if a cow at the traditional farm steps on a rock in the pasture and gets an infection she can be given an antibiotic to treat it.
The treated cow’s milk will be withheld from the milk supply during treatment and for a duration after called the withdrawal period. A withdrawal period is the time is takes for medicine to clear from meat or milk. Before her milk can go back into the food supply, it is tested for medicine.
At the end of the day, the choice to purchase organic or traditional milk comes down to personal preferences and beliefs. Whether you choose organic or traditional products, you can rest assured that Sassy Cow milk is always safe, fresh and nutritious!
Have questions about the differences between organic and traditional dairying? Feel free to contact us at 608-837-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year, winter. Our green pastures get covered with white snow and the temperatures drop to levels where no one really wants to be outside, including cows. So where do our cows live when the pastures are snow covered and cold?
Our cows will spend the majority of their time in their barns once the temperatures drop. This usually happens some time in fall when pastures start producing less and go into dormancy for winter. Despite this, cows do prefer mid range temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees. During the nice warm spring and summer months, the cows get to enjoy time out on pasture during the day. But in the winter time, they stay in their dry, warm barns where they eat a diet consisting of corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and corn silage all mixed together. This is called a total mixed ration (TMR).
Each of our farms have barns called freestalls where cows can freely roam around in their pen and lay down in a sand-bedded stall whenever they would like. Since cows spend about 8 hours a day sleeping and even more hours resting and chewing their cud, we make sure their sand bedding is clean and comfy. In a way, it’s like the cows get to go the beach everyday! In the summer months, cows are able to go outside during the day but return to the barn for the night.
Our barns use thick, plastic tarps as side walls to keep in heat in the winter and are able to be rolled down in the warm months to allow more airflow into the barn to keep the cows cool. So when it’s -10 degrees or 85 degrees, the cows have comfortable living areas.
Cows always have access to food and water in their barn no matter the time of year and spend a good portion of their day eating. We provide them with nutritious feed year round in addition to the fresh grass they consume on pasture in the warm months.
At some point, all milk drinkers have it experienced it, sour milk. And that stinks. Maybe it wasn’t stored properly at home or too much was purchased at a time, but most can agree that it’s not fun to have to throw away that milk. Here are some tips to keep milk fresher for longer from the time you visit the market to the time it is in the fridge.
At the grocery store, pick up milk near the end of your shopping trip. This way the milk doesn’t warm up while you finish shopping.
Pick the milk with the farthest out “sell by” date. Sell date and expiration date are different. Generally, there’s a three to five day window after the “sell by” date passes that the milk will remain fresh. But once milk has been opened, that date may change based on storage.
Only purchase what you can consume. For example, if your family is going on vacation later in the week, maybe it’s a good idea to only purchase a half gallon of milk instead of the usual gallon.
Store milk on refrigerator shelves rather than in the door. Shelves stay colder than doors.
Check your refrigerator temperature. Milk should be stored at around 40 degrees.
Store milk in its original container.
If milk has been left out of refrigeration for more than two hours, it’s best to throw this milk away.
Milk can be frozen for up to 6 weeks without flavor alteration. Freezing generally works better with skim or low fat milk versus whole because during thawing, milk can separate and lose its smooth texture. Always thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator.
These tips were originally provided by DairyGoodness.com. If you have questions about our milk or milk storage, feel free to contact the creamery at 608-837-7766.
Pumpkin season is here and is far from over! But sometimes these early fall weeks make it feel more like summer than fall. So how about adding a kiss of summer to the fall love of pumpkin with pumpkin cookie ice cream sandwiches! These little sandwiches are sure to please any group or are great for enjoying at home after a long day. With a cookie that is almost more like cake, these tasty treats will melt in your mouth. Try making these sandwiches with our Sassy Cow vanilla ice cream for a classic bite, cinnamon ice cream for a kick of extra spice or salted caramel ice cream for a rich, full flavor.
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin, eggs, sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until just blended.
Place rounded tablespoons of batter on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart. Using damp fingertips, flatten and shape batter into smooth rounds. Bake until beginning to turn light brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
Cover flat side of one cookie with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with another cookie. Roll edges in sprinkles if desired. Serve, or cover in plastic wrap and freeze.