The Dairy Cow

Success in dairy farming depends largely upon the proper feeding of

stock. There are two questions that the dairy farmer should always ask

himself: Am I feeding as cheaply as I can? and, Am I feeding the best

rations for milk and butter production? Of course cows can be kept alive

and in fairly good milk flow on many different kinds of food, but in

feeding, as in everything else, there is an ideal to be sought.

What, then, is an ideal ration for a dairy cow? Before trying to answer

this question the word _ration_ needs to be explained. By ration is

meant a sufficient quantity of food to support properly an animal for

one day. If the animal is to have a proper ration, we must bear in mind

what the animal needs in order to be best nourished. To get material for

muscle, for blood, for milk, and for some other things, the animal

needs, in the first place, food that contains protein. To keep warm and

fat, the animal must, in the second place, have food containing

carbohydrates and fats. These foods must be mixed in right proportions.

With these facts in mind we are prepared for an answer to the question,

What is an ideal ration?

First, it is a ration that, without waste, furnishes both in weight and

bulk of dry matter a sufficient amount of digestible, nutritious food.

Second, it is a ration that is comparatively cheap.

Third, it is a ration in which the milk-forming food (protein) is

rightly proportioned to the heat-making and fat-making food

(carbohydrates and fat). Any ration in which this proportion is

neglected is badly balanced.

Now test one or two commonly used rations by these rules. Would a ration

of cotton-seed meal and cotton-seed hulls be a model ration? No. Such a

ration, since the seeds are grown at home, would be cheap enough.

However, it is badly balanced, for it is too rich in protein; hence it

is a wasteful ration. Would a ration of corn meal and corn stover be a

desirable ration? This, too, since the corn is home-grown, would be

cheap for the farmer; but, like the other, it is badly balanced, for it

contains too much carbohydrate food and is therefore a wasteful ration.

A badly balanced ration does harm in two ways: first, the milk flow of

the cow is lessened by such a ration; second, the cow does not

profitably use the food that she eats.

The following table gives an excellent dairy ration for the farmer who

has a silo. If he does not have a silo, some other food can be used in

place of the ensilage. The table also shows what each food contains. As

you grow older, it will pay you to study such tables most carefully.




FEED STUFFS Dry ProteinCarbohydrates Fat



Cowpea hay = 15 pounds[1] 13.50 1.62 5.79 .16

Corn stover = 10 pounds 5.95 .17 3.24 .07

Corn ensilage = 30 pounds 6.27 .27 3.39 .21

Cotton-seed meal = 2 pounds 1.83 .74 .33 .24


Total = 57 pounds 27.55 2.80 12.75 .68


[Footnote 1: Alfalfa or clover hay may take the place of cowpea hay.]

=Care of the Cow.= As the cow is one of the best money-makers on the

farm, she should, for this reason, if for no other, be comfortably

housed, well fed and watered, and most kindly treated. In your thoughts

for her well-being, bear the following directions in mind:

1. If you are not following a balanced ration, feed each day several

different kinds of food. In this way you will be least likely to waste


2. Feed at regular hours. Cows, like people, thrive best when their

lives are orderly.

3. Milk at regular hours.

4. Brush the udder carefully with a moist cloth before you begin to

milk. Cleanliness in handling makes the milk keep longer.

5. Always milk in buckets or cups that have been scalded since the last

using. The hot water kills the bacteria that collect in the dents or

cracks of the utensil.

6. Never let the milk pail remain in the stable. Milk rapidly absorbs

impurities. These spoil the flavor and cause the milk to sour.

7. Never scold or strike the cow. She is a nervous animal, and rough

usage checks the milk flow.

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