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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Saturday Spot: Se7en + 1 Visit Fair Cape Dairies…

May 12th, 2013 · 9 Comments

Remember when we were desperately searching for cows to visit and we just couldn’t find them… Well patience played it’s card and we have finally discovered cows!!!

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We were recently invited on a visit to Fair Cape Dairies… And I fell you the truth if i were a cow then this is where I would like to work for a living. Now let me just mention there was a tractor involved and I wasn’t the only person in our party that thought we could retire to a dairy farm… one of us was totally intrigued with the whole event and has spoken of little else since.

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We began our tour in the classroom. Our teacher was Tamsyn and she was obviously very used to having plenty of kids in her presence and coping with any question they might ask…

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There you go a row of homeschool kids, as close as they will ever get to a classroom… rapt attention in fact…

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As amazing fact after amazing fact was revealed to them!!! For instance, these guys created the biggest tub of yogurt in the world – ever… so big that it wouldn’t fit in the building… it is even in the Guinness World Record Book.

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And finally we know what cows eat – oats and canola…

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But we weren’t there to learn about world records or cow food, we were really keen to meet the cows.

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And to be honest, after a disastrous visit to a commercial farm as a youngster I wasn’t expecting much in terms of creature comforts… I was expecting a bit of a conveyer belt experience, not to mention a lot of focus on the product and a lot less attention to the animals at the heart of the milk production. Well I was well pleased to discover a lot of happy cows, well cared for, respected and the word that comes to mind is … cherished!!!

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Everybody knows that a happy cow makes a whole lot more milk than a miserable one… and I have to say that the farmers at Fair Cape Dairies really do go out of their way to make an environment that is clean and comfortable for the cows… they even have a name for it: The Cow Comfort Index.

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So let’s begin the tour… at the milking machine… cows are milked three times a day for ten minutes…

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Each cow has a little chip strapped onto it’s leg… like a runners chip. This chip tell the farmer everything he needs to know about the health of a particular cow. It’s weight, heart-rate, temperature and so on. As the cow steps onto the milking machine the chip is read. If there is a problem with the cow from one feed to the next then that cow isn’t milked and it gets a visit from the vet. So before you can see the cow is sick, it is already helped on the road to recovery. They do not feed their cows any hormones or medicate cows that are used for milking. Back to the cow… she is on the milking machine, with a feast placed before her – my kids were quick to point out that it looked like breakfast cereal.

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One of the workers hoses the mud off the cow, another cleans the udder. They use soap like hand sanitizer that turns the udder blue… so they can see straight away if part of it hasn’t been washed and the blue dye has gone by the next feed when the process repeats. On goes the milking machine and the cows are milked for ten minutes while the machine turns. All the while there are fans blowing to keep the cows cool and I am told they even play music for them!!!

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We went from the the milking shed to the tractor…

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To follow the route the cows take on their daily journey from their huge, hanger-like sheds, to the milking shed and back again.

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This is where the cows hang out when they are not being milked… you know when they are eating and chewing the cud… because that is pretty much what cows do…

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Firstly… I have to digress a little… because I love this… while the cows are out off on their milking expedition three times a day… their homes are watered down and scrubbed all the straw and the large amounts of… ho hum… cow poo… are washed into this pit and mulched and mashed together… to make fabulous compost that is sprayed onto the oat and canola crops, for feeding the cows… The whole full-circle of it all really does appeal to me… I love that they they are committed to putting “re-cycle and re-use” into practice.

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Fresh bedding is waiting for them… Back to their freshened stalls after a milking session.

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And quite a walk in the great outdoors…

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So glad we had a tractor to take us on our trip…

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We got a close up look at the cows waiting their turn to be washed and milked…

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Finally we have seen cows up close…

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Snotty creatures… they sweat through their noses and even though it was a fairly cool day the cows were obviously warm and the fans were spinning away for them…

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We took a look at their designer earrings – or identification tags – each cow is named after her dad and given a specific identification code…

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Then we headed out…

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To meet the younger cows… and yes they come in all shapes and sizes… In fact can we just talk about size here… my goodness these animals are massive!!! I had no idea how big cows were. We always see them from the road, in a field alongside sheep and maybe some horses… but I can tell you up close… cows are huge!!!

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In fact – did you know that for cows… no two are alike…

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We did a little wild rampaging… even some flying…

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But I have to say that cows are pretty focused… friendly and focused…

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Even tree climbing did not distract them…

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It is food they are after… and do they like to eat!!!

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There are not many products where you can follow the journey from the packaged product back to the source so this was a great lesson for us. We did receive some trays of yogurt to try… What a treat, we loved them of course.

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We have to say thank-you to Fair Cape Dairies for a fantastic outing… We learned a lot and were so impressed with your happy cows…

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This post was not a sponsored post, we were not paid to write it. We were given yogurts to try and we were invited to visit them, but all the opinions expressed are entirely our own. Thanks again to Fair Cape Dairies for the fun visit and to Hippo Communications for working with us again.

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Tags: Geography · Outings · Saturday Spot · Se7en at School

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 aunty muffin // May 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    wow, an amazing outing…will look out for their products!

  • 2 se7en // May 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Hay Aunty Muffin… It was a great outing and so good to discover the efforts they go to to look after their cows. They have tons of products that I wasn’t aware of: chocolate mousse (!), yogurt, milkshakes, milk… and even Rooibos yogurt!!! Hope you have a great week!!!

  • 3 Irene // May 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Actully that designer earring #3 is holding up should have a completely different name on. I think “Jock” is just to……hmmmm, how shall I say – wrong?
    It does sound like a fun outing though.

  • 4 se7en // May 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Well Irene, Firstly Happy Birthday and Secondly all the cows receive their father’s name, and their own unique id number. So all the cows with the same names on their name tags are actually sisters!!! Interesting times – hope you have a good week!!!

  • 5 Katja // May 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    My 3 years old boy loves cows! We live in a flat and when we asked him where the cow will be sleeping, he said : ” In the living room!” It is that simple when you love something and when you do not think as an adult!

  • 6 se7en // May 20, 2013 at 1:11 am

    That is a very funny story Katja!!! I am very glad we don’t have cows in the living room!!!

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