Editor’s Note: We’ve gone on a search-and-rescue mission to find amazing stories and essays published in earlier print editions of Rootstock. Today’s throwback, “5 really, really nice things you can do for your cows” was written by Andy Radtke for the Spring 2008 edition of Rootstock.
1. Rub your hands together vigorously before milking.
Please. There is nothing more jarring to your cow than an icy surprise just when she is ready to provide you with a bounty of pure organic milk. Remember: warm hands, warm heart.
2. Take them for walks.
Lead your cows to fresh pasture every day. Or as often as weather permits. It’s really very simple. With the help of lightweight, mobile fencing technology you can easily introduce both your cows and your delicate pasture to a new daily rhythm that will strengthen both loops of this vital link in the milk chain.
3. Provide them with access to alternative health care.
Homeopathy, acupuncture, even massage therapy are all within reason. Avoid any exposure to antibiotics. You will find soon enough they are not needed. Follow the other four tips on this page; natural, robust bovine health will follow.
4. Talk to them about the dangers of drugs.
Let’s face it. Your cows are going to encounter peer pressure. The stuff is out there everywhere, and lots of cows are doing it. Make sure your charges understand the dangers and risks of rBGH. Don’t let the empty promises of this substance steal precious years of quality from the life of your herd. Just say no, cow.
5. Let them grow their own.
This practice may require human participation, but the rewards are well worth the effort. If your cows are currently unable to drive the tractor, it will be your job to plant fields of organic grasses, clover, alfalfa and whatever they prefer. Do not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or GMO-laden seed. Cows don’t like them, and, frankly, neither do farmers. The “home-grown” crop, from the cows own turf, as it were, establishes a sustainable down-home farm dear to the hearts of all cows, little-appreciated aficionados of geometry, symmetry and local milk drinkers.