Dairy Cow are the Same Except……

In Ethiopia, all cows have the same standard features as Canadian cows. 4 legs, teeth in the front, tail in the back and the udder in the middle the same as in Canada; with the exception of……
In Ethiopia cows get lumpy skin disease; a very contagious virus that causes the skin to have hard lumps or golf balls under the skin. If not caught early enough lesions will form throughout the mouth and respiratory tract. Fortunately, there is a vaccine if detected early. Cows are the same except….
An Ethiopian beef cow is fed free range; eating grass, weeds, leaves, whatever they can find as they walk five miles a day. No wonder the cow is 3-5 years old before slaughtering time arrives and only 400 kg. They have no fat which leads to very tough meat.
Ethiopian dairy cows are chained up under a tin roof for protection against the sun and rain. Our barn has no walls leading to a cooler, drier environment. The diet consists of banana trees, chopped of course, sugar cane byproducts, beer grain byproduct, proper minerals, teff straw, which is similar to a wheat straw, a green grass hay, and a corn silage.
I didn’t know what a banana tree or bush or shrub was until I saw them myself. After the stalk of bananas are picked, the tree “trunk” falls down but a new shoot or “trunk” grows up from the roots, producing another stalk in approximately 8 months. The fallen down “trunk” is chopped and fed to cattle. Stay tuned for next week when we will talk further about cow differences.

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