Healthier, happier cows and calves are the goal of our radical new dairy system, alongside of course producing milk with which to make our ice cream and cheese.
In traditional dairy farms calves are removed from their mothers within a few hours of their birth - the stress this places on the cow is clear. Since October 2016 our calves have stayed with their mothers for 5 to 6 months. We still milk them in that period, but only once a day.
As an organic dairy farm for more than twenty years our cows have already benefitted from some of the highest welfare standards in the UK, but we knew we could be better. As part of the preparation for this radical new approach to farming we built a brand new dairy, one specially designed to house calves with their mothers.
Since being with their calves, the cows are a lot calmer and there is far less bullying between the cows now. Within 2 to 3 months the calves have become like teenagers. They love playing with their pals and really only come back to mum when they want food! The first time we trialled the system, we gave the calves lots of play things - even a couple fo spacehoppers that they could head butt - but we've found that they quickly bore of toys and its the simple things that the calves prefer - galloping up and down corridors racing their pals!
Of course, no matter how good a dairy shed is there’s no better place for dairy cows than the lush green Galloway fields, and as soon as the grass is growing our cows and calves head out into the fields to graze to their hearts' content.