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Hello! I'm cow number 1184 at Mercer Vu Farms. It all starts and stops with me. Let's see all that they do at Mercer Vu to treat me like a queen...
Let me show you my home. We call it a freestall barn. It is where we spend most of our time. It has lots of fans and sprinklers for summer time heat and curtains on the side for winter cold. Lets look at what happens in here...
We like to spend most of our time laying down, chewing our cuds and making milk. Oh man is it comfortable... it is like a beach here!
That's because we lay on sand just like the beach! Sand is soft, easy on our joints, provides good traction and is inorganic so it does not grow bacteria which is important for our udder health.
We kick sand out of our stalls as we get up and down. Once a week a truck comes through and fills our beds up with fresh sand.
Our barn also has lots of water in them. We drink 30-35 gallons of water per day to make milk. Our waterers are dumped, scrubbed, and disinfected several times per week.
Fresh feed comes through several times throughout the day and is pushed up with a feed pusher every other hour for the rest of the day.
Where we eat is lined with ceramic block. If you watch a cow eat like this one she uses her tongue to scoop feed up. Concrete would get rough over time but ceramic tile will always be sooth. This ensures we will always have a smooth plate to lick clean!
When it is time to go to the milking parlor our cow mover comes to get us. He'd better be on time or we will let him know. We like our schedule to be the same every day.
While we are at the milking parlor our barn flushes with recycled water.
It leaves our barn spotless and clean for us when we return from milking
When we walk to the parlor we do it in style... we walk on rubber. In many of our alleys we have rubber flooring that is soft on our feet and easy on our joints.
This rubber flooring is recycled mining belts that are grooved so we don't slip.
This is what it is all about. This is the milking parlor. 56 of us get milked in here at a time.
When we get to the milking parlor we wait in the holding area which is lined with rubber. As we move through the parlor a gate moves forward to keep us moved towards the parlor.
When the milkers are ready for us they open a gate and we load the milking parlor.
The first step for one of our 3 milkers working is to dip our teats with a disinfectant. The dip kills any bacteria on our teats before milking. The milker will also strip a few squirts of milk out of our teats to make sure everything is ok.
The next step is to wipe the disinfectant and any dirt off our teats with a clean washcloth.
The next step is to attach the milking machine.
Shortly after attaching the milker milk starts to flow. It takes 4-5 minutes for us to give milk.
All the while we just hang out with our friends. When we are done the computer removes the milker, our teats are dipped again with disinfectant and then...
The bar raises up and we are out of here! It all happens in 6-8 minutes so we can head back to our barns to make more milk.
On our way back to the freestall barns we pass the vet office. There is an area where we can receive veterinary care.
This is Pedro our head herdsman. He is responsible for our care. He has many skills that allow him to provide us with top notch care. The computer system allows him to keep a good eye on us.
When we come back from the parlor a sort gate sorts us automatically to this area. It is all computer controlled and allows Pedro and his staff to care for us.
One of the things that happens to us periodically is that we get pedicures. Here is the hoof trimmer making sure a cow's feet is in tip top shape!
At Mercer Vu we all have our part... we take care of them, they take care of us and we all work hard to provide you with wholesome, nutritious milk!
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