A Day in the Life of a Dairy Cow

While it’s fun to talk about the science behind Sub Zero’s culinary process, let’s not forget about the animals that make ice cream possible in the first place: dairy cows. After all, they do provide 90% of the world’s milk supply . In America alone, dairy farmers annually produce enough milk for 1 billion pounds of butter, 7 billion pounds of cheese, and 1 billion pounds of ice cream.

Photo courtesy of Health Tech Mall

Dairy cows are female heifers who produce milk after giving birth to a calf. The majority of modern day dairy farmers use milking machines, enabling them to milk 100 cows per hour.

Due to their unique digestive process, cows can spend up to 8 hours a day “chewing the cud“. Cows have four chambers in their stomach, each of which handles a different stage of their digestive process.

Photo courtesy of Animal Corner

Cud comes from the rumen, which is the chamber that holds up to fifty pounds of partially digested food. If a cow accidentally eats a piece of metal or something equally harmful, it goes into the reticulum, also known as the hardware stomach. This prevents the material from causing damage in other parts of the cow’s body. While not a lot is known about the omasum, it is believed to assist in the absorption of nutrients into the blood stream. The abomasum functions much like our stomachs, breaking down protein molecules with various acids.

The most common dairy cow found in the U.S is the Holstein, taking up 90% of the dairy cow population. Other breeds found in the U.S include Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn.

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Mohr Studio

Some other cool cow facts include:

  • cows can smell things up to 6 miles away

Photo courtesy of ec.europa.eu

  • cows chew an average of 50 times per minute

Photo courtesy of foxypar4 on Flickr

  • 1 cow can drink a bathtub of water a day, or 35 galleons

Photo courtesy of StrangeTravel.com

  • Cows don’t graze with their teeth. Rather, they wrap their tongue around blades of grass and pull them from the ground

Photo courtesy of Visual Photo

  • The average cows spends 6 1/2 hours eating per day and eats 90 pounds

Photo courtesy of thedailygreen

  • It takes  2 days for a cow’s body to convert food into milk

Photo courtesy of EcoFriend

Aren’t cows awesome? We here at Sub Zero love cows and hope you do too!

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