Many of us use dairy milk daily. In fact, Australians drink an average of 2 litres a week of the creamy and not-so-creamy white stuff. We put it on our cereal, give it to children to drink, add it to tea and coffee and use it in cooking. Some of us, just like Cleopatra, may even use it as a natural beauty treatment!
But is milk ethical?
It all depends on how the milk is produced. At The Little Big Dairy Co, we are passionate about our milk production, and we always use the most ethical means possible to get it from our cows to your lips. Unfortunately, some other dairy producers are more interested in producing as much milk as they can, as efficiently as possible with scant regard for the health and treatment of their cows.
So, what do we do that makes our milk an ethical choice?
We ensure that our cows are as healthy as they can be
We love our cows with a passion! We know that may sound a little strange but every cow in our herd of 800 beautiful purebred Holsteins has a name and we know each cow’s name by heart. And, because we love them, we want our cows to be as healthy as they can be. To this end, we keep a close watch on calves during their first few weeks of life making sure that they get the vital colostrum they need to develop a healthy immune system. Our little calves receive regular milk feeds, plenty of fresh water and, when they are ready, special baby meals.
Nutrition and prevention of disease are key
Our beloved Holsteins are fed a varied and nutritious diet. We love to see them grazing on our land on the banks of the Macquarie River. They get to enjoy clovers, ryegrass and oats from our winter pastures together with fodder crops such as corn and summer forages. Having such a varied diet keeps them healthy but we also take steps to ensure they remain that way with a regular vaccination program. We very much believe that prevention of disease is better than cure. Plus, unlike some other milk producers, we don’t give our cows hormones and will only use antibiotics if there is no other option.
We take steps to reduce the risk of mastitis
Mastitis is believed to affect between 5-10% of dairy cows in typical herds in Australia. Mastitis is not only painful for the cow, but it decreases their milk supply. To reduce the chance of mastitis amongst our cows, we’ve adopted strict milking practices for our three milking herds. We milk two of the herds three times in 24 hours and the other herd twice in a 24-hour period. By sticking to these milking practices, we can significantly reduce the risk of mastitis.
We love our cows!
We’ve already said that we love our cows. Our cows are not just our business and our livelihood but they’re like family and we really care for them. Our dairy farm utilises a number of sustainable practices and we’re completely focused on operating in an ethical way to the highest possible standards.
And for us, that’s why we can honestly say, hand on heart, that our milk is ethical.