Cow Care

Aguiding principle among Arps Dairy farmers is that happy, content cows give more milk, and better quality milk, than cows that are unhappy. So, much of what happens on Arps Dairy farms… from the physical layout of the farm to the milking cycle, from meal planning to housing design, from bedding arrangements to veterinary care, from noise-control to barn ventilation — is designed for cow comfort. Normal practice for maximizing animal welfare on Arps Dairy farms can be grouped into five essential categories.

In general, an Arps Dairy consumer can rest assured that the dairy in which they consume comes from local dairy farmers who practice the highest standards of animal care. Not just because great cow care is the right thing to do for the animals; but because it’s also required by Arps Dairy in order to be an Arps Dairy supplier, and it’s also good business practice for our dairy farmers. It comes down to self-interest: their animals are their income, and happier cows make more and better milk; and more and better milk means bigger rewards for the dairy farmer. Thus, because Arps Dairy milk comes from local, relaxed, comfortable, happy and healthy cows, we have the best milk. And because we have the best milk, we have the best dairy products.

Cow Care

A clean, comfortable and safe environment in which cows feel secure enhances the health and well-being of our animals. Cleanliness protects expectant mother cows and their calves from harmful bacteria and other risks, facilitating growth in the calf and recovery from calving for the cow.

A separate calving area allows for closer observation, provision of assistance in birthing and avoidance of injury to animals and farm workers. Calf hutches allow young calves to grow in an individualized environment free from contagious illnesses that may be present in the herd as well as physical injury from adult cows; they also ensure proper nutrition for hungry calves.

Housing that is appropriate to our local climatic conditions (hot summers and cold winters) promotes health, growth and contentedness among our animals. Housing design emphasizes sufficient space for cows to move about and express normal behaviors while obtaining access to food, water and resting space without competition from their herd mates. Cows do much of their best milk-making when they are resting in a place where they feel comfortable and secure.

While some Arps Dairy farmers have acres of pasture for grazing, other Arps dairy farms have moved increasingly to free-stall housing arrangements that allow individual cows to choose their preferred place to eat, drink or rest. To comfortably support the 1,500 pound weight of a resting cow, most of our Arps dairy farmers make use of sand bedding, rubber mattresses and even waterbeds. These help to minimize injuries to knees and hocks when the cow lies down or stands up; they also keep her cleaner, which minimizes bacteria. To further reduce the chances of injury, flooring is designed and maintained to avoid slips and falls.

Adequate ventilation within our Arps Dairy farm barns promotes good health among both animals and farm workers. Frequent removal of manure and changes of bedding materials promotes proper animal hygiene and positive udder health. Appropriate lighting and temperature control contribute to animal contentedness.

Cows are habitual, sensitive animals and stress reduces their milk-making efficiency. Routine schedules and the minimization of fear sources keep them in a positive mood. Most of our Arps Dairy farms utilize a systematic milking machine which helps ensure a calm and consistent milking experience to further ensure that all Arps Dairy cows are relaxed and content, even during their milking process.