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Cow Health & Welfare

Cow Health & Welfare

Healthy and happy cows are the priority for every responsible dairy farmer, find out about dairy cow welfare.

Where they sleep

The majority of British dairy cows graze outdoors during the summer and stay indoors during the winter. Barns are extremely spacious and airy - dairy farmers know that cows like to move around and socialise with other cows in the herd, so they make sure there is plenty of space for exercise as well as rest.

What they eat

Providing cows with nutritious feed is  so important, they have their own nutritionists. Cows need a healthy, balanced diet in order to produce milk, so dairy farmers work with specialist animal nutritionists to create diet plans for them. Most dairy cows eat grass in summer and silage (preserved grass or maize) and cereals, protein feeds, vitamins and minerals in winter. Grass does not grow during this period due to the cold weather and most cows, like us, would rather be inside munching on plenty of food.

Staying healthy

Like the nutritionist, vets are highly valued as part of the dairy farm team. They pop in often to make sure the cows are healthy, and work with farmers to create a herd health plan. Watch our farm vet moovie to find out more about herd health plans. 

Cow welfare standards

You may have seen the Red Tractor symbol on milk and other dairy products in your local supermarket. The symbol means that the milk has been produced according to the standards of the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Dairy Scheme. Developed by dairy farmers, processors, the National Farmers Union and the British Cattle Veterinary Association, the scheme sets higher standards for quality and welfare than any other major dairy producing nation. It is monitored by independent auditors and certain standards ensure that cows have ready access to nutritious feed and fresh water, spacious and comfortable barns and pastures and the best veterinary care. The vast majority of British dairy farmers are members of the scheme and most processors who buy the milk from the farmer insist on it, so you can ‘Trust the Tractor’ when you shop.

Watch our Cow Whisperer moovie to find out what cow signals farmers look out for to ensure their cows are happy and healthy.