Cow Care

What do dairy cows eat?

Dairy cows eat about 100 pounds of feed and drink 30-50 gallons of water (about a bathtub full) each day. Their feed is specially formulated by a dairy nutritionist and is typically a combination of hay, grain, silage and proteins (such as soybean meal), plus vitamins and minerals.

Where do dairy cows live?

Dairy cows spend the majority of their day inside climate-controlled barns. Barns are equipped with fans and sprinklers that keep cows cool on hot summer days. Curtains may be manually raised or lowered to protect cows from cold weather and whipping winds. Soft bedding like sand, mattresses or waterbeds keep cows comfortable.

Why aren’t all dairy cows out on pasture?

The well-being, protection and comfort of cows are top priority on all farms. Access to pasture is determined by geography, land availability and weather conditions. Many of today’s dairy farms use “free-stall housing,” a type of climate-controlled barn, where cows move about as they choose, equipped with fans, misters, curtains and soft bedding like sand, mattresses or waterbeds to keep them comfortable.

What happens when a dairy cow gets sick?

Cows do occasionally get sick and sometimes require medicine — just like we do. Large animal veterinarians prescribe antibiotics only when needed. These cows are housed separately so they can be closely monitored and wear leg bands to make sure they are not milked with the rest of the herd.