RESOURCES ON DAIRY COWS
Here we have a great selection of films for students of all ages and a Power Point for primary pupils. They consider the different ways of farming dairy cows and what might be best for the welfare of the cow.
Our Power Point Presentation is easy to use and looks at dairy cows and the ways that we farm them. It opens discussion around the benefits of higher welfare farming and what role we play. It is aimed for children aged 7-11 (KS2) but can easily be adapted for younger ones. The Power Point is designed to be interactive, there are questions throughout where you can pause to discuss. You might think of other things you would like to talk about as well.Download Presentation
Short films about cow behaviour
Cows being let out in spring. 1 min 11 sec
Dairy cows being released from their indoor winter housing to their fresh pasture for spring and summer grazing. Are they dancing for joy?
Short Film: Cow eating
Cows eating Rowan tree - Clip 17 sec
These cows are enjoying a feast on young Rowan (Mountain Ash) trees. They are kept for conservation grazing on heathland, controlling small trees to allow plants like heather and bilberry to grow.
Short Film: Cow scratching
Cow scratching self on tree – 2 sec
See how this cow uses the tree as a scratch post to rid herself of that annoying itch!
Film: Cows dreaming
Dreaming cows. 1 min 18 secs
This video shows cows in a higher welfare indoor winter farm, and their reactions when going outside. Do you think these cows dream of being let out in summer?
Film: Cow chewing the cud
Cow chewing the cud 10 secs
This cow is lying down and chewing the cud! Do you know what this is?
Foods like grass and leaves are difficult to digest. Cows get around this by chewing their food twice. First, they swallow the food and break it down with bacteria. Then they regurgitate the food and chew it properly! This is called chewing the cud. It is then digested.
You might think this sounds horrible. But cows don’t mind; in fact, they seem to chew the cud while they are relaxing!
More short films from the Ethical Dairy
This is the first commercial dairy in the UK in recent years to leave the calves with their mothers. Here we can see various cow behaviours and how calves would usually interact with their mother.
Some questions to consider while watching:
- What behaviours can you see in the videos? Make a list!
- Do you think these cows and their calves have a good life?
- Do you think the Ethical Dairy’s method of farming is a good idea?
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the calves with their mothers (see PowerPoint for ideas).
Film: Calves licking each other
Calves licking each other. 25 sec
See how one calf licks the others face. They have a strong bond. Would you call this affection?
Young dairy calves are often kept on their own to reduce the risk of disease. What do you think about this
Film: Cow licking her calf
Mother licking her calf. 18 sec
This mother cow affectionately keeps her calf clean. What do you notice about the calf's response? Cows and calves develop a strong bond that can last a lifetime.
Film: Calf nuzzling mum
Calf nuzzling mum. 11 sec
See how this calf affectionately rubs faces with mum. They have a strong bond and spend much of their time together.
Film: Calf feeding
Calf feeding. 30 sec
Calf butting mum's udder to stimulate milk flow and then suckling. Watch this calf suckling from mum. This is an unusual sight on a dairy farm!
First, the calf butts the udder to stimulate milk flow and then suckles. The calf is taking a share of the milk and the rest is used to make cheese.
Film: Cows and calves in herd.
Cows and calves in herd. 20 sec
Here you can see the rare site of dairy cows and calves as a group. What behaviours can you see?
Film: Cow scratching on brush
Some dairies provide cows with artificial scratching posts when they are inside. This cow makes good use of this one to scratch her head!
Film: Indoor calf suckling
Indoor calf suckling 33 sec
This hungry calf takes a share of her mother’s milk, while they are staying inside in the winter months.
Older students – secondary and college
Short films looking at different farming systems, intensive and extensive, for a variety of farm animals.
Film: Farm Animals and Us
Farm Animals and Us 18 mins
- The video is suitable for older primary (10-11) up to adult.
- Looks at intensive and alternative farming of pigs, chickens and dairy cows.
- Warning – film contains scenes of intensive farming animal confinement and separation of young animals from their mothers which some will find distressing
Film: Farm Animals and Us 2
Farm animals and us 2 26 mins
- Suitable for aged 14 up to adult.
- Considers intensive and alternative farming systems.
- Warning – film contains scenes of intensive farming including animal confinement, separation of young animals from their mothers and one short clip of piglet tail-docking.