The most brilliant stage of a dairy cow is when it produces delicious and quality milk. But that stage can’t last forever. So, what happens to old dairy cows if they are no longer beneficial? Will they be kept as pets or slaughtered? 

The life cycle of a dairy cow

The average lifespan of a cow is about 20 years. But usually, the lifespan of dairy cows is shorter, about 15 years. Although it depends on living conditions and how they are cared for, the time they live on the farm usually lasts about 5 to 6 years.

What happens to old dairy cows?

Usually, there are three solutions to handle old dairy cows.

Old dairy cows can be kept as pets

This happens rarely. Only cows are particularly attached to the family, they are seen as members. Or the family is extremely wealthy, and they want to raise a dairy cow as a  baby, not a milk production tool anymore. These old dairy cows are often called “the lucky cows”. 

99+ Cow Bedding Sets – Perfect Gift for all Cow Lovers!

Old dairy cows can be kept for further calving

If the cow’s previous milk quality is very good, the farmer can keep it to nurse further calves. At that time, it will live until it is no longer fertile. But similar to case one, this case doesn’t happen too much.

Old dairy cows can be slaughtered for meat

Old dairy cows can be slaughtered for meat

This is the most common case. When a cow is too old, its meat quality is usually low and quite chewy. And there’s nothing more economical than it’s sold as meat. You’ll often see it at fast food stores, especially McDonald’s.

Their meat will be thoroughly ground and fully marinated with spices, along with different side dishes and recipes, you won’t feel a low quality here. Since then, fast food comes in many different forms, and the most popular dish made from dairy beef is the hamburger.

In addition, dairy beef is also used in other pet food such as high-quality dog ​​food because it is still nutritious and more cost-effective. There is a tendency to use whole dairy cows to produce those pet food.

Thanks to this treatment, the farmer will receive a decent profit from his dairy cows and cut down on industrial waste after the cows are no longer productive.

How to define old dairy cows 

There are many ways to define old dairy cows, such as by the quality of milk, the current age of the dairy cow, etc., but the most reliable is the assessment of their teeth.

  • 8-year-old cow: 2 front teeth are worn out rectangular
  • 9-year-old cow: 2 front teeth worn in square shape
  • 10-year-old cow: 2 front teeth worn out round
  • 11-year-old cow: 4 front teeth worn out round
  • 12-year-old cow: with 6 front teeth worn out round
  • 13-year-old cow: 8 front teeth worn out round

From the age of 13, it is almost impossible to determine the age of the cow through this method. It will be time to consider replacing your dairy cow with a new litter. 

What affects the cow’s lifespan?

old dairy cow

The lifespan of dairy cows is greatly influenced by living conditions, i.e the way you feed and care. Cows that receive good mental care, such as listening to music, telling stories, often live longer, and produce better milk quality.

First, climate greatly affects the ability to produce milk in cows and their longevity. The cool and well-ventilated weather will help increase the amount of milk significantly compared to milk production in cold, wet, or hot weather. The data shows that older cows exist more in these regions.

Second, it’s nutrition. Dairy cows depend a lot on their diet.  When nutrient levels are low, cows will not have enough energy to synthesize milk.  On the contrary, excess nutrition will lead to obesity – the reason that inhibits the ability of cows to produce milk.  A well-balanced diet is the best condition for a quality line of milk.

Third, the care regime. The entertainment regime not only significantly affects the quality of cow’s milk but also the longevity of the cow. There have been many experiments proving that cows are raised and cared for in a special, balanced, and entertaining diet including feeding, bathing, listening to music … for higher nutritional quality in milk over a much longer period than usual.

Bottom lines

Now you have known what happens to old dairy cows. From the moment they are born until lost, dairy cows have a very high economic value.  With a dairy cow’s age and proper care, your dairy cow will be very profitable even if it is the old dairy cow.