Cow Facts

Cow facts and information
  • Cows are ruminants, which are cud chewing mammals. Camels and sheep also are also classified a ruminants.
  • Cows produce most of the milk that people drink.
  • Before milking machines were invented in 1894, farmers could only milk about 6 cows per hour. Today, farmers use machines to milk more than 100 cows per hour.
  • Dairy cows provide 90% of the world’s milk supply with the best cows give over 25 gallons of milk each day. That equals about 400 glasses of milk.
  • U.S. cows give an average of 2,000 gallons of milk per year.
  • Around 9.2 million cows are being milked on 110,000 farms in the United States. More than 99% of all dairy farms are family owned and operated.
  • The first cow in America arrived in Jamestown colony in 1611.
  • Until the 1850’s, nearly every family had its own cow.
  • In 1856, Gail Borden invented the condensed milk process. This process removed some of the water from milk so it would take up less space.
  • Cows are milked for an average of 3-4 years. A cow must have a calf in order to produce milk. Calves are fed milk until they are 8-9 weeks old. The average cow is 2 and a half years old when she has her first calf.
  • A cow chews her cud (regurgitated, partially digested food) for up to 8 hours each day.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cows do not have 4 stomachs; they have 4 digestive compartments: The first compartment is called the rumen. This rumen holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where cud comes from. Good bacteria in the rumen helps digest the food and provides protein for the cow.
  • Cows drink about a bathtub full of water and eat around 40 pounds of food a day.
  • Holsteins are black and white, and each has a unique pattern. Jerseys vary from dark or light brown, and sometimes are splashed with white.