Ideal Dairy Farms
A family tradition of passion for cows,
our team, community and the land.

Our Animals

As the foundation of our farm, our cows are our greatest priority. We ensure their every need is provided for and they are treated with respect. We have over 2000 head and every one has its own name!

Calves

When an expectant cow gives birth to a baby we call it calving. A newborn calf weighs approximately 70-90 pounds! Shortly after calving the mother cow is milked, producing her first milk, or colostrum. Often referred to as “liquid gold” colostrum is packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients just like a human mothers first milk. It is extremely important for a calf’s health and growth to receive enough colostrum within their first few hours to ensure early development of a strong immune system.

Within 24-36 hours of being born, our calves make the short trip, about 7 miles down the road, to our calf and heifer facility. There, they spend about one week in a hutch where they receive individual care, slightly isolated from close contact with their herd mates. We feel this initial isolation is imperative to the overall strength of their immune systems, as they undergo critical development during this stage of their life. When we are sure she is healthy, strong and eating well, our heifer calves are guided across the barnyard to one of our three calf barns designed specifically to provide ideal conditions to support the healthy growth of our calves from about 10 days old until they are weaned at around 10 weeks. In total our Calf Barns house between 125 and 150 calves on milk. Using RFID ear tags each calf receives at birth, the automated feeders in our calf barns allow us to customize feeding plans on an individualized basis as necessary. Our calves drink milk, five times a day (scheduled at their discretion) and have access to free choice water and grain at all times. Bedded with shavings and straw, with radiant heated floors, and vented with large exhaust fans to promote air quality, their pens measure 24 X 36 feet, providing ample room for 20-25 calves to eat, sleep and play in a comfortable, climate controlled, environment. At Ideal Dairy our calves are the future of our herd. It is important to provide them every opportunity to grow into strong, healthy Holsteins that will flourish in our herd through adulthood. 

Cows

After giving birth in a special location, a “fresh” cow rejoins the herd in the freestall barn where she will be milked 3 times a day. A freestall has many stalls, bed with comfy sand, as well as a feed bunk (similar to a buffet) where a cow chooses to sleep, eat and meander as she pleases. A freestall barn allows us to easily control the elements and protect the cows. Cows prefer cool weather and are most comfortable in the winter months. To reduce stress caused by the heat of the summer months our freestalls feature giant fans to promote ventilation and a timed sprinkler system to cool cows at regular and frequent intervals. At Ideal Dairy our freestalls also have motorized backscratchers to provide cows with additional activity. Cows are social creatures much like humans and each barn has its own social structure; there is always a line at the backscratcher, and the same cow is always first.

Medical care

Despite all our preventative measures, like humans, cows sometimes get sick requiring treatment and increased attention to bring them back to health. Sometimes they are moved to a separate location where they are more easily monitored and milked separately. When a cow receives medication her milk is discarded and is not incorporated with the rest of the supply.

Dry cows

A cow generally produces milk for about 12 months. During that time she will be artificially inseminated in hopes to secure another pregnancy. Towards the end of 12 months her milk supply gradually decreases and she is “dried off,” meaning she will no longer produce milk for the last 40-60 days of her pregnancy. While dry our cows take a “vacation” from the busy milking schedule and are solely responsible for the growth of a new baby calf! In the warmer months our dry cows are often placed out on pasture where they can graze freely and take in the beautiful scenery nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks!

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