When calves are born, they start a cycle. All the male calves born at Caldermeade Farm and Café are sold and all the female calves are reared to become milking cows.
Calves are usually born front feet first with the head between the front legs. If there is only one leg and the head, or just the head showing, then we will assist them. A mature cow usually takes 1–2 hours to give birth from when the ‘waters’ initially break. Maiden heifers can take up to 4 hours.
Cows usually give birth lying on their side with their legs outstretched. Sometimes they may appear motionless, but they are just relaxing between contractions.
Calves are fed 4 litres of milk twice a day, as well as small amounts of grain, grass and hay until they are weaned at 10 weeks of age. They are then fed grain, grass and hay for a further 2-6 months until fully adapted to pasture. Weaned heifers (young cows up to 2 years old) are run on a nearby farm.
Did you know?
- A cow has to pump 400 litres of blood through her heart to produce 1 litre of milk
- A lactating cow drinks more than 120 litres of water a day and eats up to 75kgs of grass and 6kgs of grain
- When the milk leaves the cow it is at blood temperature (38˚C) and it is then cooled to 4˚C within 1 hour
- A cow has 4 stomachs (ruminant) consisting of the reticulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum. Feed is consumed quickly, and then regurgitated from the rumen for further chewing (cudding) whilst the cow rests. It then passes further along the digestive system. Sheep, goats and deer are also ruminants
- There are 1.8 million dairy cows in Australia producing ~9.7 billion litres of milk every year. 70% is produced in Victoria
- Caldermeade Farm and Café contributes about 3 million litres per year
- The number of dairy farms in Australia has more than halved from 22,000 in 1980 to fewer than 6,500 today
- The average Australian dairy farm has 284 cows
- Australia exports about 34% of its milk