You know the age old saying–something about “walking a mile in their shoes” err, hooves, in the case of Ruthie Morton. That’s right, you’ve probably wondered what the life of a cow is like–well, Ruthie Morton invites you to follow her step-by-step for a day in her life.
Hi, I’m Ruthie Morton and I invite you to live a day in my hooves.
I reside at Morton Farms in Evansville, Wis. Would you believe I was born right here, on this very farm? It is such a beautiful place to call home!
Here’s an up close view of my barn. In this free stall barn I sleep, eat and socialize with my friends.
Speaking of eating, let’s just say I love to eat! Would you believe I eat about 100 pounds of feed each day! It’s no wonder I weigh over 1,400 pounds! But, I need all that feed to produce lots of milk. Each day I eat about 11 meals, which adds up to about 5 hours of my day!
Talk about service–the other cows and I get fresh feed delivered to our “door step” twice each day. Every time I see the bright orange (which by the way is my favorite color) mixer and tractor heading to the barn I know it’s chow time!
Here’s an up close view of what I eat everyday–straight from the mixer. It consists of corn silage, hay, protein, vitamins and minerals. The total mixed ration is balanced by my nutritionist to ensure I am getting a healthy diet.
I usually eat with all my friends–it’s almost as if we go out to eat together everyday!
Speaking of friends–I’d like you to meet my best friend, Carmen! We enjoy relaxing on the sand in our stalls and admiring the bull from afar.
All that eating makes me thirsty! I usually make about 15 trips to the waterer each day. During that time I drink about 25-30 gallons of water.
All that eating, drinking and socializing sure makes me tired, so I lay down on my sand bed to rest. Each day I am here for over 12 hours. During this time I chew my cud for about 8 of those hours. This shows that I am relaxed, happy and digesting my food. Chewing my cud equates to about 30,000 chews daily.
Throughout the day my caretakers walk the barn to make sure all my friends and I are healthy, happy and doing well. They look for things like if we are chewing our cud, eating our food and our overall well-being.
During their walk-throughs my owners want for nothing more than to see all of us to be happy and healthy. That is their number one priority.
While I’m in the freestall relaxing, my farmer is working hard to prepare for our milking. He makes sure that the system is in proper working order so our milk will be transported from our udders to the bulk tank in a safe and sanitary manner.
Once my farmer has everything ready for milking, the cows and I head to the barn to wait our turn in line to be milked!
When it’s my turn to be milked, I stand like so in the parlor.
Before the milker gets put on, my teats get cleaned with an iodine dip. This is one of many steps taken to ensure a safe and clean milk supply. After the milker comes off I am dipped again. This helps prevent bacteria from getting to my udder.
I get milked twice each day. Each year I produce enough milk for 40,352 glasses of milk!
After traveling through the pipe, the milk is stored here, in the bulk tank. Here it is cooled and stored until our milk man comes to pick it up. He comes to visit every day to collect our milk from the tank where it is then transported to be processed.
Not all the cows on our farm are currently giving milk. These are the “dry cows” and I will soon be joining them. If you noticed the green band on my leg, that indicates to my farmer that it’s almost time to dry me up. 60 days before I calve, I come to this area to give my body time to prepare for calving. After I calve, I return to the milking herd.
After the dry cows calve, our farm welcomes a new member to the family, just like the cutie you see here. Once this heifer calf grows up, she will also become a milking cow too.
Thanks so much for coming to my farm and seeing what a day in the life of a cow really is like! Don’t forget, June is Dairy Month! Be sure to thank a farmer for their dedication and love for cows like me!
A huge thank you to Morton Farms in Evansville for welcoming us to their farm and taking time to share information with us!