Work Experience – Dairy Farm
This week I have been on work experience at a dairy farm/educational farm to do some milking.
I have never done any work with cows before, so this was a first for me! The farm I was at milked about 185 Friesian Holstein cows, twice a day, in a herringbone parlour holding 30 cows at a time but with the facility to milk 15 at a time. I was asked to come in for the afternoon milking session which meant I was there from 2:30 pm until 7:00 pm.
The first thing I did was help to feed the calves. There were approximately 20 female calves still being fed a milk replacement, and another 10 or so that had been weaned. There were also about 15 bull calves about to be sold on. I fed the calves in their pens out of buckets and made sure that the weaned ones had water and food. I loved spending time with the calves and feeding them. They all had so much character and they were so cheeky!
The next task was to fetch the cows in from the field and bring them onto the yard ready to be milked. There were two fields in opposite directions that the cows could be in, and each was near a pub but there was no stopping for a drink halfway! Most of the cows were really good and easy to bring in, but there was the odd one that just wouldn’t budge!
Once we had gotten the cows in, I suited up in my waterproofs and went into the parlour to help out. Over the week I went from being completely useless at milking and having no idea about what I was doing, to it feeling like something I had been doing for years! It was quite therapeutic because it was so repetitive and you start to miss the cows when you stop… Even though I’m sure my family doesn’t miss me coming home smelling like cows!
It was a great experience milking and I think it helped me gain some experience working with cows.