Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Sunday, on the spur of the moment, we took the kids to Fair Oaks Farms to see where our milk comes from. I had a coupon for buy one-get one admission (Thank you Entertainment book fundraiser from the school).

Fair Oaks is not organic milk, but the cows get to walk around and live in relative comfort (for dairy cows). The cows don't get antibiotics (unless they're sick) and they don't get added hormones, but their feed is conventionally grown, so the milk isn't organic. It's just....less tainted.

Anyway, they runs tours and whatnot.

I really enjoyed the farm. We didn't take the tour to the milking turntable because it involved a 45-minute bus ride and Bobo is not so much for the sitting down these days. But they had plenty of other things to do like drive tiny tractors, eat ice cream, climb a rock wall, sample cheese, jump on a giant inflatable pillow (which was a real hoot), drink milk, a 4-D mooooovie, and much, MUCH more. If you act now, they will throw in the string cheese maze for free!

I went to the birthing barn and watched a cow give birth to twin bull calves. 60 pounds apiece. It's the first time I have ever seen something born in real-life. Yikes. It was a little gross as I imagine traditional childbirth is (and beautiful too...yessiree I am sure childbirth is beautiful...and slimy). Anyway, we didn't know a second calf was coming and then the cow midwife (she wasn't a vet, just a woman who helps the laboring cows) stuck her arm (up to the shoulder) into the cow. I figure she was trying to get the placenta. When her arm came back out, she had hold of a hoof. She grabbed both, and pulled. I mean, really, pulled. And out slid another calf.

The mother cow was quite interested in her first calf and was licking and stimulating it. She wasn't all that interested in that second thing that came out of her. I was really hoping she was going to maternal up and that we wouldn't see neonatal cow death. So, the midwife dragged #2 around to the front end of the cow and eventually, she gave her calf a cursory lick and went back to #1. After about a half hour, #1 started to get up and walk away, so #2 got a lot of attention then. Everything worked out OK in the end. I never saw the calves nurse though. They get to stay with their mothers on the farm for about 80 days.


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