Bridgewater Heifer Ranch

Well, we officially started milking cows at Oakshade Dairy on January 23, 2011. It’s been a long couple of months down in the trenches, training cows to a new barn, training and hiring employee‘s and just getting used to all the equipment and quirks a new facility brings.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is “where do we find all the cows?”

Well the answer really has three parts.

The first part relies on the birth rate of Bridgewater’s own dairy cows. About 1/3 of Oakshade’s herd is made up of Bridgewater Dairy cows.

The second part is based on purchasing herds of cows from other dairies. Farms that have made the decision to quit milking cows for a variety of reasons (from retirement, to bankruptcy, to even the fact that the last child went to college). Another 1/3 of Oakshade’s cows came from the purchase of these already milking cows.

The third way is through a broker or dairy auctions where we purchase pregnant 2 year old heifers, that we hope will calve in the next three to four months. Bridgewater has filled up with almost one thousand of these 2 year old heifers. These heifers will help bring Oakshade to an efficient and healthy population and help replace some of the cows that were moved from Bridgewater Dairy to Oakshade Dairy.

So for now Bridgewater Dairy is only milking about 2600 cows, and has 1000 heifers preparing to give birth that’s why we have temporarily named Bridgewater Dairy the “Heifer Ranch.”

On a side note: Bridgewater has 24 hour surveillance by highly trained employee’s in the maternity barn. The addition of all of these 2 year old heifers has moved Bridgewater from calving 8-10 cows a day to about 15-20 a day. Since we are still training employees at Oakshade we felt that Bridgewater could do a far superior job in watching over the cows calving and the calves being born, until Oakshade’s employee’s have the necessary training.