All About Dairy

Cow facts

 

Cows are fascinating, even if I do say so mooself!

In Moo Zealand, us cows play a very important role in the dairy industry because we are the animals that make the milk that you drink!

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Did moo know…

  • There are 4.8 million milking cows in Moo Zealand!

  • Cows live in groups called herds - the average herd size for a Moo Zealand farm is 414.

  • The average dairy farm size is 147ha (1ha is about the same size as an international rugby field).

  • The North Island has most of the New Zealand dairy herds, 73% of them.

  • The South Island has 27% of New Zealand's dairy herds.

  • The Waikato Region has the most herds in the Moo Zealand with 33% of dairy cows living there.

Fun cow facts to wow your friends and family

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How now, brown cow!
Did you know cows come in different types, called breeds? In New Zealand the most common are the black-and-white Holstein-Friesians, caramel-coloured Jerseys and a mix of the two – a Holstein-Friesian/Jersey cross!

How are spots like fingerprints?
Holstein-Friesian cows have their own special set of spots – no two are the same. Humans have their own special fingerprints. No two humans are the same!

Chew, chew, chew!
Cows spend most of their time eating – their jaws can move more than 40,000 times in one day. If chewing was a competition, cows would beat humans’ hands down - they chew at least 50 times per minute! Cows don't bite grass; instead they curl their tongue around it and pull it from the ground.

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Saliva helps cows digest
A cow produces more than 50 litres of saliva each day – that’s five big buckets of spit. Erghh! The saliva helps cows digest pasture by balancing out the acid in a cow’s rumen and reducing the risk of bloat.

I'm so full!
Cows drink around 70 litres of water a day and can eat about 100kg of wet grass a day too. On average a cow will spend 8 hours eating, 8 hours chewing her cud and 8 hours sleeping every day.

Upstairs, downstairs
You can lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs. That’s because cows’ knees don’t bend the same way yours do. (Luckily, cows live mostly on flat paddocks and not two-storey houses like many humans.)

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Who smells better?
Do you have a good sense of smell? Maybe – but probably not as good as a cow. A cow can smell something that’s nearly 10 kilometres away!

Nice warm jersey?
A cow’s normal body temperature is 38.6°C. A human’s is 36.5–37.5 °C. If your temperature rose to the same as a cow’s, you’d have a fever–and might need to see your doctor!