We left the park around 12:15 and made the half hour trip to the farm. Our tour started at one and there were quite a few of us from our park attending this tag along. This is a state of the art dairy farm with over 10,000 head of cattle.
The first thing one notices when exiting your vehicle is the.....smell. I can't imagine being here at this farm in AUGUST when its over a hundred degrees!
Everywhere you look you see black and white cows. Did you know that a cow's markings are like fingerprints, that no two patterns are alike?
Our tour leader was Roamie and she had us wear green wristbands designating us as the "green herd".
Take notice of the cow in the picture above with the number 13 below it. At 1 p.m. there had been 13 calves born so far today. There is, on average, between 25 and 30 calves born EVERYDAY at Shamrock Farms. At any given time there are approximately 2000 pregnant cows.
When you first walk into the meeting area you see these three cow statues.
The one on the far right was "decorated" by some local school kids.
We were soon asked to board the Cow Tram.
The cows on this farm are very well treated. Remember, a happy cow gives a lot of milk. The average Shamrock Farms cow produces 19,825 pounds of milk per year. That equals: 2,305 gallons per year, 8 gallons of milk every day of her milking cycle, or enough milk for 128 people to have one glass each day. That's a lot of milk!
Sights we saw on the way to the next stop.
Under this tarp is the feed.
We were taken to a building where we climbed to the second floor. Here we could look out windows to the floor below and see the cows being milked. Granted, this isn't the best picture but that happens when taking one through glass. The cows in the middle of the picture are leaving, they've been milked already. Look to the far right of the picture, you can see just their heads. These cows are just coming in to be milked. We learned that cows are creatures of habit in that when they get in the "gate", for the lack of the correct term, to be milked they make sure that the cows on either side are the ones who are usually next to them. Truly creatures of habit.
Next stop was the nursery. Each calf is isolated for the first 2 months or so of its life. Here it is watched daily and its feed and such is monitored. We watched this one little fella try to eat the curtain. Heck, it wasn't trying, it was eating it!
We finally returned to where we started and were treated to a pint of flavored milk and a dish or cone of ice cream. Shamrock brand of course!
I bet this is more than you ever thought you would know about cows.
Oh yeah, we had CHICKEN for dinner tonite.