Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Visit to a local dairy farm

What a field trip!! We had the opportunity to visit a friend's farm today and despite the cool, damp weather we are sure glad we got to go. We've been studying Farmer Boy and if you know anything about the story of Almanzo Wilder's childhood, then you know he grew up on a large farm in northern NY state. Almanzo's chores included milking cows when he came home from school.

We knew there'd be plenty of differences between farms of a long time ago and the dairy farms of today. In Almanzo's time, the farmers actually milked the cows. Almanzo was a good milker according the book and he only milked a few cows at a time. We learned that this farm milks 100 cows a day. It takes 3 to 4 milkings to fill the large tank. The milk truck comes every other day to empty the tank. In the meantime, the milk is kept a specific temperature to make sure it is safe.

This farm uses a pipeline system to milk the cows. There a pictures below. The cows stay put in the barn and the machine is hooked to them and the milk travels through the hoses into the tank. Many farms have milking parlors where cows are brought through and milked and taken back into the barn.

We also saw the calves in a different barn and R and I got to feed the calf with a big bottle. Afterward more brave kids came in to pet the friendly calves. Next to them are the pregnant cows. Our host told us that the mamas are usually out to pasture until a few days before they birth their calf and sometimes they end up having them in the field. They stop being milked about 2 months before they give birth so they can fatten up and rest.

We hiked to the river that runs behind the farm. It was running super high and quite fast due to plenty of rain and quite a snow melt we had last week after Monday when nearly two feet of snow fell.

Another successful homeschool field trip!

The milking hoses that get put on the cows inside the barn.

R is one of only two brave kids to feed the calf. Her brother I did as well, but then lots more joined in for the petting. This little guy seems to like us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! We are getting ready to take a field trip to a dairy, so I am sharing this with the kiddos.