My Fitbit cheered me on at 6PM letting me know I'd reached my step goal for the day. During the winter I am lucky to reach the 15,000 step goal but in the summer months I'll surpass that by afternoon chores on most days. Did you know that cows average 12,000 steps a day?
These girls put some miles, and a hefty 1,500 pounds (average), on those tootsies. However hearing that my cows and I are hitting the ground nearly the same amount every day is mind boggling to me, all they do is milk, sleep, and shit.
What do dairy cows do all day
While the farmer's on my farm start their day with a 3:30 alarm, they usually head out to start chores around 4AM. It takes about 20 minutes to get my bovine beauties up and into the holding pen, where they wait to be milked. Some of the cows are first every day, like #208, #184, #840, and #89. Some are ALWAYS last, like #141 (aka the worst cow on the farm 😉).
Our dairy cows have to wait their turn to milk because the parlor, milking facility, has room for 16 cows at a time but only 8 can be milked at one time. The actual time it takes a cow to milk is less then 5 minutes, but let's add washing prior to milking and after milking post dip care and they are in the milking parlor for no more than 15 minutes. The smartest cows are usually laying back down or eating in the barn less than an hour after we get them up, while the slower to rise cows wait up to 45 minutes before we have room in the parlor to milk them.
What is the farmer doing during milking chores? About 4k steps; up and down short stairs from the parlor to the holding pen, shoveling and hosing down the parlor post milking, feeding calves and making the milk house look a hell of a lot cleaner than most of our kitchens.
Cows spend their time in between milkings (we milk twice a day on my farm) sleeping, eating, drinking, and socializing. Interaction between the cows, socializing, takes up a good portion of their day, you'll see certain cows tend to stick together and other's like #128 are bullies and get themselves involved in all kinds of drama.
The farmer don't you know is bedding barns, hauling manure, pushing up feed, checking on the maternity barn.... is it spring? Their greasing up equipment, breaking shit, fixing shit, running to get parts (and stopping for ice cream along the way), etc.
All of this to say my cows get pedicures
....and I haven't had one in a long ass time
When the hoof trimmer visits the farm he sets up a vertical shoot that stops the cow and lifts her slightly so that he can pick up each foot. He files her hooves down so that she can walk flat footed and looks for any painful sores like warts or abscess. Some girls just need a trimming like #252 pictured below, but some of the cows just have poor feet and need warts treated and then a wrap placed around their hoof for a few days to keep it as clean as possible while it heals, usually #212 on our farm.