Do Cows Drink Milk? | Farming Base

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Cows produce milk for their young, just like other mammals, but do adult cows drink it? As consumers, we are familiar with cow-derived products such as beef, milk, and butter, but we know very little about the cow’s feeding habits.

Milk, which is high in nutrients, plays an important part in the lives of all animal species. Calves frequently drink for the first few weeks of their existence in order to maintain their health and development. Calves can only subsist on milk until they are old enough to take solid food.

Returning to our original question, do cows drink milk? Everything you need to know about a cow’s drinking habits is right here.

Cows, like other mammals, take milk from their moms when they are young. They can’t digest it effectively as they become older, so they’re better off eating forage. It is permissible for children to drink milk in some uncommon conditions.

Adult cows consume water, which accounts for 50 to 80 percent of their body weight. Adult cows lose their capacity to digest milk at weaning age, hence pregnant cow milk is only for calves.

Even if a cow wants to drink milk, after it reaches adulthood, it is unable to digest it.

Do Baby Cows Drink Milk?

It’s no secret that newborn calves and cows drink milk. Calves are given their mother’s milk as soon as they are born. Colostrum is the first milk produced by cows and is given to newborn cows within 24 hours of birth.

To assist immunize the calves against early ailments, the first cow milk is high in antibodies, nutrients, and essential minerals.

Calves will eat their mother’s milk or milk replacers for the next two to three months. They start drinking water and eating fodder like adult cows after around 3 months.


Do Cows Drink Their Milk?

In general, cows do not drink their own milk. They frequently suckle their udders to alleviate the discomfort of not being milked. Cows cannot make milk until they give birth to a calf, and adult cows rarely require milk.

If the milk has not yet been pasteurized, a cow may try to drink it from an open bucket in the milking parlor.

Cows do not drink their own milk because it is not natural for them to do so; yet, if they begin to do so, these cows with filthy behaviors are sold.

Related Is it possible for male cows to produce milk?

Is it Dangerous For Cows to Drink Milk?

You’ve probably never heard of or seen a cow who drinks milk on a regular basis. It is not dangerous, but it is not encouraged. It’s fine if you only give it in little doses every now and again.

It would be difficult to give cow milk in significant volumes on a regular basis. Cows’ digestive systems, or rumen stomachs, become incapable of breaking down and digesting fats as they mature.

Regardless, if the cow is provided milk, there will be stomach issues.

Cows are normally given a modest amount of milk after giving birth, because they have lost a lot of nutrients while generating Colostrum. It’s a quick and easy approach to replenish nutrients.

Farmers supplement the diet of cows with dried milk powder or milk derivatives such as cheese to ensure that they have enough protein to stay healthy.

Lactose Intolerance in Cows

According to study, it’s incredible that mammals who were weaned off milk as babies develop lactose intolerance as adults.

It’s common in cows and other mammals because their bodies stop manufacturing the enzymes needed to break down sugar in milk once they reach adulthood.

Calves’ bodies actively manufacture the Lactase enzyme, which assists in easily breaking down Lactose in milk.

Lactase enzyme production slows down during or after weaning, when milk is no longer the predominant food source, resulting in a natural aversion to dairy.

This does not, however, imply that cows are no longer able to consume milk, nor does it imply that they should continue to do so. If they need milk, give it to them when they need it. Do not substitute water for milk.

Self-Suckling Cows

Self-sucking is the phrase for cows who try to consume their own milk, albeit it is quite rare. It is the least desired characteristic since it causes udder and teat damage.

It’s because udders aren’t designed to be suckled by a creature the size of an adult cow.

This practice not only harms the teats, but it also reduces the farmers’ revenue, therefore they usually butcher the self-suckling cows. These cows will even try to suckle from other livestock in extreme circumstances.

Cows do this to relieve the agony of calving, the discomfort of an engorged udder, or to compensate for a mineral shortage.


What Happens When an Adult Cow Drinks Milk?

Drinking milk might cause certain unpleasant side effects since older cows lack the enzyme responsible for the breakdown and digestion of lactose molecules.

When cows drink too much milk, they may develop health problems such as diarrhea and mastitis. In severe circumstances, the consequences might be disastrous, such as decreased production and financial loss.

However, not all cows are affected in the same way; some cows can consume milk without affecting their health or productivity.

Reasons Why Adult Cows Do Not Drink Milk

If you’re wondering why adult cows don’t require milk once they’ve been weaned, there could be several reasons.

There is No Need For It

Even though baby cows can survive on milk alone for the first several months of their lives, this does not indicate they will need it as much as adults.

Cows’ stomachs are intricate, with four stages of digestion. It also gives them an advantage, allowing them to obtain more nutrients from the pasture’s grass and other vegetation than most other animals.

Cows only require milk while they are young and their stomachs have not grown sufficiently to allow them to consume solid food.

Lactase enzyme production slows down once the ruminant stomach is fully formed and capable of digesting grass and foliage.

This means they can thrive on grass and forage instead of milk as a primary dietary source.

They are Not Allowed to Drink Milk

Farmers refuse to grant them access, even if they wanted to, and the extracted milk is carried away to be pasteurized for human consumption.

Because it is so profitable, farmers would not squander it by giving them whey that they clearly do not require.

It is only administered to cows in exceptional conditions in the farming environment to compensate for lost nutrients after birth or mineral deficit.

It’s mostly used to replenish calcium levels, and only in modest doses.

Farmers know how much each drop of milk is worth and how much money they can make from it. So the cow’s milk is immediately pasteurized, and it can survive solely on forage.Learn How many people can a cow feed?

It is Not Sustainable

In adulthood, cows have not evolved to ingest milk because their principal food source is forage. Drinking milk would not provide cows with enough energy to produce a specified volume of milk biologically.

Only nutrients taken from grass and fodder can provide the energy required to keep up with daily tasks. There is no danger in feeding milk on occasion, but it should never be used as a substitute for a balanced diet.


Cows, unlike calves, rarely consume milk; this is partly due to the fact that they become lactose intolerant as they age. When fed in a moderate amount to restore nutrients and calcium levels, it is not wholly detrimental for the cows.


  • A calf with lactose intolerance.
  • Allergy to Cow Milk Protein

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There are only a few breeds with white heads among the 250+ recognized cattle breeds. This feature, without a doubt, distinguishes them and makes them stand out. If you are unfamiliar with these breeds, don’t worry; we will introduce you to them one by one.

White-faced cattle are a rare breed with a distinct appearance. This feature is exclusively found in a few breeds, regardless of whether they are dairy or beef cattle. Continue reading to find out more about White Faced Cattle Breeds.

White Faced Cattle Breeds

  • Cattle from the Hereford breed
  • Simmental
  • Hereford, black
  • Abondance
  • Hinterwald
  • Montbéliarde
  • Vorderwald

Hereford Cattle


When it comes to white-faced cattle, Hereford deserves to be at the top of the list. This is one of the most popular beef breeds, with a history dating back over two and a half centuries.


This is a British brown beef cow breed that originated in Herefordshire, England’s West Midlands. The white face feature has become established in the contemporary breed by the end of the 18th century. This is also one of the earliest breeds of English cattle to be recognized.

Characteristics and Applications

The coat of a Hereford varies in color from dark red to yellow, with a white face and markings.

This British breed is preserved and bred for the purpose of producing beef.

2. Simmental


Simmental, also known as Swiss Fleckvieh, Pie Rouge, or Simmentaler, is one of the oldest and most well-known cow breeds. The face of this breed is usually white, or at least the majority of it is. The color of the coat influences these white face traits as well.


The breed gets its name from the Simme River valley in the Bernese Oberland, in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. The widely dispersed breed can now be found on all six continents.

Though it is impossible to be certain, records show that the breed arose from the cross of huge German cattle and a smaller Swiss breed. Several other European breeds, such as the Montbeliarde, Pezzata Rossa d’Oropa, and the Fleckvieh, have been affected by the breed.

Characteristics and Applications

The coat color varies from gold to red with white markings. The head is usually white, and there are various white markings all over the body. Typically, the face is white, with colour around the eyes.

It’s a Swiss cattle breed that’s bred for both milk and meat.

3. Black Hereford


You may have imagined a Hereford with a red coat and white markings, but a new Hereford color is on the increase. Because of their black bodies and white faces, Black Herefords are also known as “black-baldies.” This breed, like the Hereford, is praised for its feed efficiency and placid temperament.


The Black Hereford cattle breed was developed in the 1990s and does not have a centuries-old history. The first Black Hereford was registered in 1997, and the American Black Hereford Association was created in 1994.

This is a cross between Hereford and Black Angus, which describes the coat colors perfectly: Angus’ black coat and Hereford’s white markings. The Black Hereford breed was created to carry on the best qualities of both breeds.

Characteristics and Applications

The breed resembles its parent, the Red Hereford, in look and color. The attribute that distinguishes them is that they have a black coat rather than a red coat, as stated in the breed name. They have white finching on their crest, dewlap, and underline, in addition to their white face.

In some regions of the world, Black Hereford cattle are appreciated for their beef and are raised specifically for that purpose.

4. Abondance


Originally Abondance, also known as the Chablaisienne, is a beautiful white-faced cattle breed that is similar to Simmental. The face of the breed is white, with coloring under the eyes. Abondance is a hardy and strong cattle breed that can adapt to a variety of climates and temperatures.


The breed’s birthplace is Chablais in the Val d’Abondance, which is located in the Haute-Savoie region of France. The breed was created in the 12th century by the monks of the Abbaye de Saint-Maurice d’Agaune.

Abondance cattle number around 15000 in France, and the breed has been exported to North America, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Iraq, and Africa.

Characteristics and Applications

The bull has a chestnut red coat with a white head, underbelly, and some white markings on his legs, whereas the abondance cows have golden or brown coats with a white head, underbelly, and some white markings on their legs.

Abondance is a dual-purpose breed bred for both milk and beef production.

5. Hinterwald

Hinterwald or Hinterwälder Rind, which means “from the backwoods,” is Central Europe’s smallest cattle breed. The breed has evolved to cope with extreme conditions such as cold winters, steep pastures, and a limited diet, and is well adapted to the Alpine climate. The white face and distinctive horns of this breed are well-known.


Because the breed originated in the Black Forest, it was given the name Hinterwalder. The history of the breed is largely unknown. In Germany and Switzerland, there are two breed associations.

Pro Specie Rara, a non-profit organization, has been running a maintenance breed program since 1983. In Germany, this cattle breed was named “Domestic Animal of the Year” in 1992.

Characteristics and Applications

The breed has a variety of coat colors, ranging from pale yellow to red speckled, variegated, or solid in coloration. With a white face, the coat can range from light yellow to dark red-brown.

Hinterwald is bred for exceptional milk, meat, and other qualities.

6. Montbéliarde

The Montbeliarde is a red and white pied cattle breed that originated in eastern France’s mountains. It has evolved into a hardy breed that can withstand the coldest and hottest weather conditions due to the harsh climate and living conditions. Montbeliarde is a strong breed with white markings all over the coat.


The breed was named by Joseph Graber in 1872 in the area of Montbéliard, département of Doubs, in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of eastern France.

The Mennonites brought Bernoise cattle to France in the 18th century, and the breed is thought to be descended from them. Tourache and Fémeline have also influenced the breed.

Characteristics and Applications

Montbeliard dairy cattle have red pieds and white heads. These cows have lovely white markings all over their bodies.

It is primarily used for dairying and cheesemaking; Montbéliard milk is used to make one of the most famous French cheeses.

7. Vorderwald

Hinterwald and Vorderwald are regarded as siblings. Hinterwalder means “from the backwoods,” and Vorderwalder means “from the front woods,” as previously stated. The cattle of this breed, like Hinterwalder, have white faces and markings.


The Black Forest in Germany gave birth to Vorderwälder Rind. Hinterwald and Vorderwald were originally known as “Wald-Cattle” in 1544, and the smaller and larger breeds were dubbed Hinterwald and Vorderwald, respectively, based on their size.

The herd book was first established in 1896, despite the fact that this cattle breed has been around for centuries. This breed’s population is steadily declining.

Characteristics and Applications

The coats of the breed are red and brown, and they are large. The cows’ horns are curving and their faces and legs are usually white.

It is kept for the purpose of producing milk and meat

In conclusion, These were some of the different whitehead cattle breeds. Share this article with other cattle enthusiasts.

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