We drove past one of the biggest farms in the county last night.... a number of barns, dozens upon dozens of calf hutches in long white rows, lots of feed and bedding storage, hundreds of cows, some new construction projects, corn fields, ponds, and all.
I am sure that activists and those not in the know would have been horrified. OMG, it's big! It has barns! It must be bad!!!!
I was instead quite tickled. The calves were obviously contented...happy even...out in their little individual yards, schmoozing with each other or prancing around. They were fat and clean and healthy. Their coats were sleek and fluffy and nice.
The cows were having supper, heads reaching through their feeders to piles and piles of lovely total mixed ration, or TMR. They were clearly contented too, just doing what cows generally choose to do, eating and hanging around together.
Everything, and I do mean everything, was spotlessly clean, and neat, and tidy. That is saying something right there. Animals make a mess and cows are particularly messy as creatures go.
Yet this place was tidier than my living room.
And it smelled good! There was no odor of manure at all, despite the large number of cattle house there. All you could smell was the corn in the ration, which by the way smells tangy and delicious, and the warm bodies of the cows....which to me is a wonderful smell.
It is sad that people who have no idea what they are seeing perceive farms like these as less than ideal. Instead this is a business built by a farming family who care for their animals and their land and take care of things with state of the art equipment. Hats off to them.
Update, here is a link I save about how cows feel about pasture vs housing in summer.