Spring farm tours have wrapped up here on the farm, but here are some ‘udder’ FAQ’s…
FAQ #4 = What is the udder?
It’s the bag that hangs down under the cow’s belly and between her back legs. That is where the milk is stored!
FAQ #5 = Why are some udders so big?
Good question! The truth of the matter is that most of this depends on the age of the cow or her genetics!! It’s true – the older cows will tend to hang a little lower! So, the real question is – will the cows with big udders produce more milk? Answer – not necessarily. In fact, the size of the cow’s udder has no direct correlation to the amount of milk that she produces.
FAQ #6 = How does a cow make milk?
This is the infamous question that I probably get asked 5-10 times a day when I’m giving farm tours and boy do I wish it was a simple answer! My basic answer is that her body is designed to make milk. She can actually take the food and water that she eats and drinks and then her body will turn that in to milk. This works for a preschooler – that is all they need to know. (Even a “she just does!” would even work here!)
But – the more technical answer is this – Cows have four compartments in their stomach and the food must travel through all four compartments for it to be utilized by the cow properly. Cow’s amazing stomachs allow them to eat things that are much different from things that we would eat – such as hay, grass, and corn silage. So, as the food travels through their system, the waste is sent in one direction and comes out of the cow’s body as manure and the good nutrients are sent in another direction. They are absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine and then carried to the udder. Those nutrients are then turned in to milk in the udder.
FAQ #7 = How much milk does a cow make?
Although we measure milk on the farm in pounds – I still answer this question in gallons so that everyone can relate. So, on our farm today – we are averaging between 8-9 gallons per cow per day. UDDERLY amazing if you ask me!!!