Answers to Your Cow Questions!

Thanks for all the great questions about cows!  I’ve tried to answer them the best I can, but feel free to ask more!

From Pocklock

Q: Are the cows friendly? Can you pet them and love them?

A: Cows have personalities, just like people. Most of them are very gentle and loving, but sometimes you get one that just seems to hate the world. My sisters and I used to show cows, kind of like a dog show, but for bovines. We would wash them (usually with Tide to make them smell good), give them haircuts and comb their tails and put on a nice leather halter to show them off. Those cows were usually very sweet. Other cows, like Number 7 and Number 66 were pure evil. I would refuse to touch them because cows’ kicks? Hurt. I used to make my younger sisters wash and put the milkers on those types of cows. I’m a great older sister like that.

But yes, most cows are friendly and love to be petted. My favorites are the calves.

Q: Someone once told me that they all go back in the barn at night in the same order, is this true?

A: I don’t know about the exact same order, but cows are creatures of habit. Our pasture has trails from where the cows would follow the same path from the barn to the woods every day. There are different types of barns; we have a tie-stall barn. Some cows did have special stalls that they would go to. Lucky would only use the stall by the alley near the milkhouse. We had to chase other cows out because Lucky would not go into other stalls.

Q: How much milk can you get from one cow?

A: The average cow produces 6 to 7 gallons each day. Aren’t you glad you’re not a cow?! It takes 5 to 10 minutes to milk a cow with an automatic milking machine. Most cows are milk 2 or 3 times a day.

From Sara:

Q: Why are some cows white and some black?

A: Just like there are different ethnicities of humans, there are different breeds of cows. There are six main breeds of dairy cows: Holsteins (black and white, sometimes red and white), Ayrshires (red and white), Guernseys (brown and white), Jerseys (mostly brown with some white), Brown Swiss (self explanatory) and Milking Shorthorn (brown and white). Each breed has certain “dairy characteristics” that makes them unique. Holsteins are the most common cows, they are the largest and typically produce the most milk.

From Jessica:

Q: How often are the farms inspected, if at all? And for what?

A: Inspections vary from state to state. Maryland has state employees that visit each farm, at least twice a year. Pennsylvania’s farms are inspected semi-annually by field representatives employeed by the dairy cooperative or milk plant. In either case, the farms are inspected to make sure they are clean and the cows are well cared for.

Milk is tested up to 17 times from the farm to the dairy; if it’s not perfect, it’s pitched. Before it’s unloaded at the plant, it’s screened for antibiotics, bacteria and temperature (it has to be between 35 and 40 degrees).

PS-Can anyone help me figure out how to post a photo? I just get a box with a red X. Thanks!



  1. Janet Said:

    Cows in leather halters? Seeeexy! ;o)

  2. cows are great

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