This week we celebrated National Farm Animals Day by collating videos of some of Lancashire’s cutest farmyard residents, from piglets to lambs, buffalo to goats. But what about the hard-working farmers behind these beloved animals, the ones who get up early and go to bed late to help keep these animals happy and healthy.

We caught up with Lisa and Michael Kelsall at Farm on the Fell, who run a cow with calf dairy farm in Bleasdale. They believe farms should work with nature not against it and feed their cows a natural diet of pasture and forage, as well as allowing their cows to rear their own calves from birth. They then use the vitamin rich milk to produce delicious ice cream, pasteurised milk and tasty milkshakes that can all be bought on the farm.

So, what does it take to be a cow with calf dairy farmer?

“Our day starts at 6.30am when we bring the cows and their calves into the collecting yard ready for milking. This is later than most dairy farms as we make sure that the calves have had time to suckle a full stomach of milk before we milk their mums. The calves wait patiently in the collecting yard while their mothers are milked in the milking parlour, and then in summer once milking is finished the cows and their calves all go out into the field to graze.

After milking in the winter when the cows are indoors, they get fed a diet of silage, which is ensiled grass from the previous summer. The cows beds are cleaned and re-bedded with sawdust before the pigs are fed their breakfast while enjoying an ear rub. The youngstock are also checked and fed a diet of silage.

At 8am once the milk from our herd of Jersey cows is cooled, the milk is transferred to our milk vending machine or to our processing room to be made into gelato.

It is then time to get on with various daily tasks depending on the time of year. In the warmer months this consists of setting out electric fencing for the next day’s grazing for the cows. All of our cows are rotationally mob grazed around the farm, which means that the cows are moved onto an area of fresh pasture every day.

No two days are the same on a dairy farm, so the rest of the day is spent catching up on paperwork, trimming cows feet, maintaining machinery or doing a few hours work on a larger task such as hedge planting or fencing.

As we only milk once a day, late afternoon we walk through the cows and their calves to check that they are happy and healthy, which can take a while as our cows are very friendly and most of them won’t let you pass until they have had a little rub.

In the winter, the cows are fed silage again just as we did in the morning and their beds topped up with sawdust.

The pigs are also fed again in the afternoon and to make sure they haven’t escaped from the field they were supposed to be in, which can be a daily occurrence! The milking parlour is then set up ready for the morning after.

Our day finishes at around 10pm when we have a final walk around the animals and check that they are all ok. This coincides with walking our dog Atlas before bed.”

Why not head along to Longridge to pick up some fresh milk from the Farm on the Fell vending machine, or treat yourself to gelato made right here in Lancashire, using milk from the animals you can see grazing in the fields?




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