Everyone meet our newest addition. And her name is- well, actually we don't have a name for her yet but isn't she so precious just the same! You may be wondering why our cow is giving birth in December, that's usually a spring thing right? Yes and no. Most ranchers calve in the spring and a few calve in the fall but if you have dairy cattle you calve all throughout the year in order to keep in milk. .
We choose not to separate the calf from it's mama after birth though this is the norm of big dairy farms. Mama cows never get to see their babies again after giving birth. This way dairies can get more milk and go about milking without the bother of a calf distracting mama cow. I can't imagine taking a baby away from it's mom like that. I don't care if they are cows. Mammals are meant to take care of their own babies.
There are actual benefits to keeping mommy and baby together as well. The mama cow produces antibodies and passes them onto the baby through the milk building the babies immune system. The antibodies can change depending on the environment. Some of the calf's saliva is actually take into the teat when it is nursing and this is how the moma cow know what antibodies it needs to produce. The calf has virtually no immune system when it is born so it is very dependent on mama to build one for it. If this isn't reason enough, (oh but it is!) milk replacer is expensive and worst of all filled with GMOs. We certainly don't want to be feeding any of that! .
This does make things a little more tricky for the first week or so. Mama may not want to let down her milk for us. They can actually hold the milk back. They sometimes do this to save the milk for the baby. I'm amazed by this. I don't remember having any control of that when I nursed my babies. When mama cow decides she doesn't want to share we have to bring the calf in and let it start nursing. Mama cow then lets down her milk and we can proceed to milk her. After a week or so we start separating the calf out at night. We milk the mam in the morning then she spends the rest of the day with the calf. The mama spends some time in the calf's pen on the way to the milking stanchion (where she is milked) so she is exposed to anything she may need to make antibodies for to pass on to the baby.
You can see in the picture that Pippy is not getting any grain while she is being milked. Nope. She is 100% grass fed like all of our livestock. She is perfectly happy and perfectly healthy. And look at her butter. Wow that is yellow!
Poultry that have access to grass have brighter yellow yolks and grass fed dairy animals have yellower cream and butter. Why is that? Because they are higher in beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids, a result fromeating all that grass. Grass fed butter is also 5 times higher in CLA ( thats the good cholesterol, conjugated linoleic acid.). CLA reduces body fat by increasing metabolic rates. In a study in Costa Rica, Scientists found that participant who consumed more full fat dairy were 49% less likely to have a heart attack. It turns out we need healthy fats like nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and full fat dairy products. Another interesting thing is that you actually digest full fat milk better than skim or reduced fat milk.
Raw milk has added benefits that pasteurized milk does not. Raw milk is filled with enzymes and probiotics that help in digestion and supports a healthy gut. The process of pasteurizing kills all these enzymes and probiotics. After you that you have dead milk. Leave it on the counter and it turns putrid. Leave raw milk on the counter and it turns into clabber. It doesn't go bad it goes different. It ferments and you can use it to culture cheese or yogurt and make all kinds of goodies with it. The fermenting process increases the amount of good bacteria or probiotics. It use to be a common thing the make clabber and fermented dairy products. If you ask your grandma or grandpa they probably consumed it on a regular basis. It is no wonder that the further away the nation gets from whole, fresh, and raw foods and move to prepackaged and processed dead foods, the nation gets sicker and sicker.
We are blessed to have fresh raw milk daily. Safe, healthy and delicious!
Happy, healthy, clean, eating,
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I look forward to sharing my gardening and homestead adventures to help you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!