A few facts about our small dairy farm 💗
What is the name of your farm? Wren Dairy Farm.
Where is your farm located? North-eastern part of lower Michigan.
When was your farm established? In October of 2008, during a difficult time for many dairies but starting out we didn’t really understand the impact of low milk prices.
What generation is your farm? First generation. Neither my husband nor I grew up on any type of farm, although he worked on a dairy farm for 6 years prior to our farm.
Do you sell your milk directly to the public? No. We sell our milk to a cooperative called Michigan Milk Producers Association, they take on the responsibility of finding a market for our product.
How many cows do you milk? We milk on average 60 – 68 cows. Sometimes we have a group of young cattle come into milk which pushes or numbers up, but our barn comfortably houses 65 so we try to maintain in the low 60’s.
What type of milking parlor do you have? We have a double-8 swing parlor, we milk 8 cows at a time while we prepare the other side of 8. Milking generally takes 70-80 minutes, twice a day.
Do you use rBST? No. Michigan does not allow the use of rBST from its dairy farms. You can read a post about this here.
Are you organic? No.
What do you feed your cows? Our cows are fed a TMR (total mix ration) mix twice a day; this includes haylage, sorghum, minerals and corn.
Do your cows go out onto pasture? Yes, from May to November they have access to pasture as well as their free stall barn. They can choose where they want to be. Michigan winters can get very cold and we keep the cows in the barn during that season.
What do you do with bull calves? We typically do not keep bull calves on the farm, bull calves are male. We sell them to local farmers within the first week of life. While they are on the farm we make sure they receive their mother’s colostrum and feed them milk replacer after that.
Are the horns removed from your calves? We dehorn our calves at 6 weeks old with an electric dehorning burner. In the past we have used polled bulls for breeding, which genetically do not grow hornes, so some of our calves are born without hornes.
Does your farm have inspections? Our farm is inspected by our Co-Op twice a year and by the State twice a year. All four inspections are unannounced and surprise, they are all thorough and allow us to sell Grade A milk in the state. Every other year we also have a federal inspection, again unannounced.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments! Xo, Nicole