Cow Care

Simply put: Cows come first. Through the use of innovative and safe technology, dairy farmers provide exceptional animal care to produce fresh, high-quality milk.

How do dairy farmers care for their cows?

Healthy and happy cows make high quality, nutritious milk.

Dairy farmers use new technologies to keep their cows comfy. Did you know that cows have back scratchers set up for them in the barn? At many farms, cows can create their own milking schedule thanks to robotic milking machines. This has shown to increase their happiness and milk production. Check out how farm technology is improving the lives of dairy cows.

Are cows cared for better on smaller farms?

No. The size of a farm does not affect the well-being of cows.

Dairy farms – whether large or small – make animal care a top priority. Farmers care for their cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care, and healthy living conditions because they depend on the animals for their own livelihood. It’s typical for farmers to spend the majority of their operating costs on the care of their cows.

Research shows that cows need to be calm, happy, comfortable and well fed to make high quality milk. Cow comfort includes soft bedding like water beds, misting cows in the summer to keep them cool, new options for feeding so that cows are well-fed, and reducing noise to keep cows calm including playing music in barns. Dairy cows spend 12 – 14 hours a day asleep or lounging.

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care Program provides standards to ensure high-quality animal care on all dairy farms (no matter the size) across the U.S. This is the first livestock animal care program in the world to be recognized by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Animal Welfare Management standards.

More than 99% of the U.S. milk supply comes from farms participating in the FARM Animal Care Program.

Visit our Farm FAQs page to learn the differences between organic and conventional dairy and get answers to other common questions.


Cow Care Blog Posts

  • Q&A with a Vermont Dairy Farmer: Animal Comfort and Winterizing the Farm

    Dairy farming is a 365-day-a-year job. We chat with a Vermont dairy farmer about animal comfort and winterizing the farm for New England winter weather.

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  • Calf Care: The Foundation of Life on a Dairy Farm

    Providing exceptional calf care is the foundation of life on a dairy farm. For a cow to grow into a healthy, productive member of the herd in adulthood, it all starts with the care the calf receives.

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  • What Cows Eat to Make the Dairy Foods You Love

    Cows have their own nutritionists who help feed them what they need. Just as with people, it is essential that cows eat a balanced diet to stay happy and healthy.

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Types of Dairy Cows

Without them, dairy doesn’t exist. Our farmers know that happy and healthy cows produce high-quality milk.

Just like dogs or horses, there are different breeds of cows. There are seven common breeds of dairy cattle. Learn more about each breed.

Learn More

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