Category: Cows

When did dairy farmers start feeding grain to cows?

Corn, grain, silage, and even manufacturing by-products are fed to cows for one reason only: the bottom line. It’s cheaper and easier to feed larger amounts of cows with grain-based feeding, rather than manage the animals on pasture. Some dairy farmers also believe that a grain-based diet increases milk production

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What is the housing for cows on Maple Hill farms like?

Maple Hill cows have access to a barn where they go to get milked or for shelter. They always have outdoor access, year round. During the grazing season, they are out on pasture all day long unless the weather is bad. Calves who are not with mom any longer live

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What happens to male calves?

Male calves are usually sold. Maple Hill has started efforts to connect with grass-fed beef producers to supply bull calves to be raised by them. These operations tend to be more humane than other beef operations, and we would prefer that all our male calves live in the most humane

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What do Maple Hill calves eat?

Calves nurse from their mothers, a nurse cow, or receive real, 100% grass-fed milk from the milk tank by bottle. We never use milk replacer. Older calves may begin to graze while still on milk as well.

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What do 100% grass-fed cows eat in the winter?

During the winter, when pastures are dormant, our 100% grass-fed cows eat hay (dried grass) and baleage, (fermented, high-moisture grass). This feed is usually cut and stored by the farmer, coming from the same land the cows graze in season. Sometimes it can also be purchased from other certified farms.

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How long do Maple Hill cows live?

Our dairy cows live their whole life on our family farms. It is very common for our cows to live 8-10 years, sometimes to the age of 16 or 17, compared to 3 or 4 for conventional dairy cows. Our average longevity is 6 years, because it includes losses at

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Are Maple Hill cows artificially inseminated?

Around 25% of the cows in our herd are artificially inseminated, mostly for safety purposes, when it is not safe to have a bull around. Bulls can be a danger to the herd as well as to our farmers and their families. Farmers report 75% insemination by a bull. Cows

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Are cows supposed to eat only grass?

Cows originally ate only grass. When herds started to grow, grain was introduced to improve performance and accelerate growth. “When cattle are fed grain, productivity is increased, but fiber-deficient rations can disrupt physiological mechanisms,” said James B. Russell of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ithaca, New

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