From newborn to full grown, cows have a unique and balanced diet.
When newborns calves are born they are fed colostrum from their mothers. For any mammal, colostrum is very important to have as a newborn. In this case, colostrum contains high levels of immunoglobulins which help the calves fight off infections. In addition, colostrum contains proteins and minerals that are essential for calves to grow.
At six to seven weeks old, calves are drinking milk and free choice water. They will also be weaned off milk, and grain is made available to aid in their development. Weaning is a term used to describe a cow’s transition from one food to another. Soon after, calves are offered free choice grain, hay and water.
As they grow, corn silage and alfalfa haylage are offered with pasture when available. Protein, minerals and vitamins are added helping them to grow strong and healthy.
Corn silage is made from standing corn, which is cut, chopped, and stored in silos until use. Haylage is chopped high moisture alfalfa, and stored in silos as well.
Around 22-24 months of age cows have their own babies. At this time, they eat silage and grain for a balanced diet.
About two months before their next baby is due, cows stop their milking process and are transferred to a different barn as well as a different diet. Here cows rest and prepare for their next baby.
Consumption of water
A single cow will drink approximately 30 to 50 gallons of water per day depending on the temperature, how much milk they are producing, if they are pregnant, etc. This is equivalent to one bath tub full of water.