London- Cows in Germany benefit from a three-month maternity leave to take care of their offsprings.
Head of De Oeko Melkburen, a dairy that produces organic milk and yoghurts, Hans Moeller says “every calf needs its mother”, therefore, he allowed his cows to have the maternity leave.
He added that calves and cows have an intimate relationship, and as farmers they had stopped experiencing that.
The head of De Oeko Melkburen got the idea of maternity leave from his customers, who had asked him how the calves grew up. He revealed that they left the offspring with a wet nurse cow, but that wasn’t ideal. To offer his cattle a more natural life, he decided to keep cow-mothers with their small calves and adopted it as a concept two years ago at his farm in Lentfoehrden, northern Germany.
Moeller’s concept is drastically different to the way most calves are reared in the country, which with its 4.3 million dairy cows is the biggest milk producer in the European Union. According to the German news agency, while farmers feed most calves with buckets, Moeller’s calves are allowed to remain with their mothers and drink whenever and how long they like direct from the source. Their mothers are still milked regularly but the farmer only takes the leftover.
Moeller noted that in their third month, the calves tend to drink all of the milk. He says: “Then we only get lucky if the calf sleeps in, but that doesn’t happen often”.
Calves are usually separated from their mothers 24 hours after birth, meaning that the calves often develop behavioral problems because they can’t satisfy their natural need to suck.
According to the Thuenen Institute, which specializes in research on agriculture and ecology, calves drink around 1,600 liters of milk a year, which means that a farmer couldn’t deliver 1,600 liters to a dairy manufacture.
Moeller considers that the happiness of cows and calves compensates him for the missed quantities of milk.