You Asked, We Answered: Dairy Cow Facts

  • Article
  • 2 min read July 17, 2017

Looking for dairy cow facts? Keep reading for some answers to common questions – as well as some of our favorite fun facts – below!

Think a cow is just a cow? Actually, there are six common breeds of dairy cows that you can find on farms across our country, including the most popular (and most recognizable) Holstein. Most dairy cows originally came from Europe – including the British Isles.  

What do dairy cows eat? Dairy farmers work with professional nutritionists to make sure their cows get the nutrients they need. Usually that includes eating a combination of grass, grain and a mixture of other ingredients like citrus pulp, almond hulls and cottonseeds – items that may otherwise be thrown away. We like to think of cows as the ultimate recyclers: They can take ingredients that we can't eat – but are nutritious for them – and turn those ingredients into nutritious milk!

Do cows like music? Actually, one study showed that they just might! Some dairy cows may give more milk when listening to certain types of music, like Mozart or Beethoven.

Did you know that cows like routine? They do so much so, that they know when it's their turn to be milked. In fact, some farmers choose to not observe daylight saving time simply so they don’t have to change their cows’ schedules!

How can farmers tell their cows apart? Some dairy cows wear ear tags, which allow farmers to know who is who. Some ear tags are also hi-tech, so they can record a cow’s body temperature, health and medication history and even the quality the milk each cow gives. Ear tags are one example of how dairy farmers focus on cow care. 

What do farmers do to take care of their cows? While exact best practices may vary from farm to farm, one philosophy stays true: Cows come first on dairy farms. To learn more, read about these  five ways most farmers keep their cows healthy.

Do cows get hot or cold? Thanks to their thick skin, hair and natural insulation, cows actually prefer temperatures between 40 and 65 degrees. As a result, farmers in colder climates have several ways to take care of their cows in the winter. During the summer, farmers keep their cows cool by turning on their barns’ fans and water misters -- as you can see above.