Giggling and smiling, the kids climbed up onto the wagon and set off for a tour of the fields. On the wagon ride, the class learned about the crops (winter wheat, corn, and soybeans) growing in the fields. When they returned to the blue barn after the ride, all the class gathered around a pen of light brown fuzzy calves. The class learned many new things: calves drink milk, eat corn and oats, have ear tags, and lose their teeth. Some wondered if the tooth fairy comes for the calves. Time with babies isn’t done: a newly hatched chick was carefully held out for each kid to feel its soft down.
Their next stop was the dairy barn. As they watch the robotic milkers milking the cows, the class learns milking cows enjoy a pampered lifestyle. Even their food is specially designed: a delicious ration of many different ingredients mixed together, called a total mix ration or TMR. As buckets are passed around, the kids run their fingers through the individual ingredients: smooth cottonseeds, powdery soybean meal, hay, brightly colored grain, and hearty silage. Joan teaches the kids that cows at Cinnamon Ridge are Jerseys, one of the five dairy breeds. After explaining that most Jerseys have brown hair, she asked what color milk they think Jerseys give. A few were perplexed, but most knew that white milk comes from brown cows.
After more learning and watching the cows, the group enjoyed a Whitey’s ice cream treat. While everyone enjoys their ice cream, Joan tells them a few jokes:
- Why do cows wear bells? (Because their horns don’t work!)
- What do you call a cow that has just given birth? (De-calf-inated)
- What do you call a sleeping bull? (A bulldozer)
Cinnamon Ridge offers customized tours to all ages. To book a tour, go to www.tourmyfarm.com.