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Question: Do we use hormones (such as rBST) to increase milk production?
Answer: NO, we never have and never will. We truly believe that good animal husbandry, good nutrition and lots of TLC make our girls happy productive cows! The girls have automatic grooming brushes, regular pedicures, their own nutritionist, charming veterinarians, comfortable mattresses and human interaction every day. They have freedom to socialize, eat, drink water or just snooze as they chew their cuds. They have curtains, thermostatically controlled fans and a heated milking parlor.
Legal note: No significant difference has been shown between milk from rBST-treated and non rBST–treated cows.
Question: Do we use antibiotics? This is the next most asked question.
Answer: As you know, antibiotics do not promote milk production. I like to compare antibiotic use in our girls to antibiotics in your family. You would not just give yourself or your child antibiotics for no reason, and we don’t give them to the girls for no reason. By the same token, we would not just let one of our girls go untreated and die. If one of the girls is ill we call our veterinarians, they make a barn call and check the cow, make a diagnosis and prescribe the correct medication. Each medication comes with rules of usage. Any cow that has received medication is clearly marked with colorful leg bands and is put with ‘hold out cows’. The milk is discarded for the indicated time, then we have the milk tested for any residue before we reintroduce it back into the tank. The health of the girls is very important, healthy happy cows make the best milk!!!
Question: Are we organic?
Answer: No we are not…pretty close though. In order for us to be organic we would have to take our fields out of production for 3 years. So we would not be able to grow our own feed, which is very important to us. We would have to pay high prices for purchased corn/feed, and therefore our milk would be more costly and not truly home grown.
Question: Do our cows go out to pasture?
Answer: The girls can go out to pasture when our Michigan weather allows. Just like your grass at home it only grows for a relatively short period during spring and summer, tapering off as we go into fall. We bale our hay during the summer so that the girls have grass/hay during the periods of time that they cannot get to the pasture. Their barns are set up so they are free to socialize, eat, drink, lay on their beds (rubber mats with mattresses on top and covered in straw) and ruminate. They have thermostatically controlled fans and also curtains that are drawn during inclement weather.
Question: What is a “heifer”?
Answer: A heifer is a young female cow who has not had her first calf yet. After her first calf is born she becomes a cow.