Our Jersey Calves
Here in Airfield, we hold ourselves to the highest animal welfare standards we can while providing livelihoods for our farmers and products for our customers. We are often asked why we separate new Jersey calves from their mothers at birth.View this post on Instagram
“There are a few reasons we separate,” says Brian Farrell, Head Farmer at Airfield. “Firstly, it allows us to keep milk for human consumption”. Dairy cows are bred to produce much more milk than the calf needs, and we keep most of it for human consumption.
One of our Jersey calves needs about three litres of milk a day, while a Jersey heifer produces up to 20 litres! “It means the milk we keep is of higher quality, too”, Brian continues. “It’s also easier to move our milking herd between field and parlour if the herd is not mixed with calves.”View this post on Instagram
The earlier the separation occurs, the less distressing it is on the animals as the bond is less developed. Rearing the calf separately reduces the risk of some diseases (like Bovine Johne’s Disease) and makes others easier to detect.
We ensure that the calves get the first milk they need (or colostrum) from their mother early on which is filled with important antibodies. As they grow, we begin to feed them on donor milk or milk-replacer and eventually wean them. When female calves are old enough, they re-join their mothers as a part of the Jersey milking herd, while male calves will be sold for beef.
You can visit the Jersey herd at Airfield Estate and watch the milking in the farmyard at 10:30 am from Wednesday to Sunday when the estate is open.