Caring for Sick Animals
All of us are susceptible to colds and flu from time to time. I know strep throat has really been going around in our area and it is only treatable with antibiotics.
Just like people, our cows also occasionally get sick and we treat them with antibiotics if needed. Both organic and conventional dairy farmers treat their cows with antibiotics, but we do manage these cows in different ways. (In fact, the definition of organic milk refers to farm management practices, not to the milk itself.) On an organic dairy farm, when a cow requires antibiotics, the cow is permanently removed from the herd. On our dairy farm, where conventional milk is produced, when a cow requires antibiotics she is put in her own separate area. This allows us to watch her closely, give her the specialized care she needs, and milk her separately from the rest of the herd. Her milk is not sent to the processing plant. When the cow is restored to health and antibiotics are cleared from her system, then she is allowed to re-enter the main milking herd.
We like caring for our cows and want to keep them in our herd for as long as possible. Their health is very important to us. We want to see any cow that isn’t feeling her best nurtured and restored to good health so she can rejoin the herd.