On our way back from Rio Sereno we stopped by Cedo’s farm. One of the calves had a tummy upset and diarrhea, and Cedo had bought some medicine for him in Rio Sereno. She wanted to deliver the medicine and check on him.
I enjoyed seeing the calves. They were in their building to keep them out of the hot afternoon sun, and they also spend nights in there with a light on. There are vampire bats here who will bite calves and make them sick, and the lights keep them away. I watched as the caretaker gave the sick calf his medicine, and listened as Cedo talked with him about teaching the calves to eat. Like any newborn they are fed mother’s milk (with a bottle though), and must learn to eat and drink without the bottle. They are separated from their mothers in a few days or the mothers don’t want to accept the milking machine and of course, being dairy cows, they need to be milked. Every time I visit I learn a little more about taking care of cows.
The cows were hanging around in the milking area with the radio on. Cedo told me that the radio is for the cows. They are calmer and give more milk if they have music in the afternoon before they are milked! I wonder if they would rather have Mozart than pop rock, or if they don’t care either way.
Since we were there, of course we had to visit the pigs.
This farm visit was Tuesday. On Wednesday Cedo went back to the farm to meet the veterinarian who was doing an inspection of all the animals. She sells Grade A milk to Nevada, one of the bigger dairies in the area and there are strict requirements, one of which is this yearly vet report on the health of the animals. She came back frustrated because she also needs to go back to the farm every day this week to document exactly what each cow is consuming, how much and what kind of food, and how much water. She also needs to take the water to be tested for bacteria or other contamination which will cost $50. She thinks this is a bit over the top for a small, cleanly run farm. But, I guess you can’t fault the dairy for having strict standards for the milk they sell under their label.
Farming is WORK. I have a whole lot more appreciation every time we buy milk from the store because I know more about all the effort that goes in to producing it.