Daisy’s daughters are taken away from their doting mother within a day of being born and sometimes after just hours. They have arrived in the world after nine months inside the comfort of the womb and are adapting to the outside world, suckling on their mother’s milk and being nursed then abruptly carted away by a farmer to spend the next few months in isolation hutches, alone and confused, deprived of the warmth of their mother and her milk they so much yearn. Here begins their journey of a fate as hellish as their mothers. The separation process is a painfully emotional experience with mother cows bellowing for days, looking for their lost babies, sometimes just metres away from them. The calves can hear their mothers crying for them but will never see them again.
New-born female calves are taken from their mothers never to see them again and confined in lonely isolation hutches for months, so humans can drink the milk intended for them
New-Born and Alone
The new born female calf is left alone in the isolation hut and instead of playing with innocence and joy her spirit is already broken. They are fed replacement formula from then on and are known to try to suckle on the fingers of any factory farmworker who might pass to refill their formula milk bottle. The pens are small and restrictive, 1.5 m by 1 m, they can barely move around at all and are often chained at the ankle. Calves will often walk back and forth, back and forth, restricted by the surrounding fence. The conditions they are forced to endure in the early stages of their lives are brutal and inhumane with extreme weather conditions often adding to the unrelenting situation, not even allowed to get comfort from other calves due to the confinement of their pen. The UK law states that calves can only remain in these hutches for two months, but often they are kept in them for months longer as in reality it depends on the individual factory farms and how they see fit as the laws are rarely monitored or enforced. It is not uncommon to find them still living alone in these tiny hutches up until six months suffering with sores and wounds on their backs from squeezing into the outgrown hutch. Can you imagine the trauma of being separated from your mother at birth and being encaged without love or contact for so many months? The thought is beyond comprehension.
Female dairy cows that are over six months old but have not yet given birth to a calf are called ‘heifers’. At about eight to nine months old heifers may be branded for ease of identification, using an iron that has either been heated (hot iron branding) or cooled to below 100 °F (freeze branding); both of these procedures are very painful. Heifers reach puberty around 9-16 months old depending on breed and weight, but some farmers try to speed up puberty by feeding them extra grain as earlier pregnancy means increased milk production rates.
Joyful, happy souls are broken at birth – they don’t understand and they yearn for affection. The world is brutal for them.
Female Dairy Calves Around the World
On huge dairy farms calf wellbeing is non existent. They are taken from their mothers within 30 minutes of birth and isolated in lonely hutches whatever the weather. 11,000 calves are lonely and missing their mothers on this farm. They endure painful mutilations such as dehorning and those that don’t make it are just discarded.
Mother to Mother
Hidden in our endless supply of milk and other dairy products in every shop and supermarket shelf, are female calves in isolation huts pining for their mothers, their nurture and their milk, and mother cows in confusion, shock and bewilderment bellowing for their stolen babies to be returned. Their cries of anguish are just part of the dairy farming process, harrowing yes, but expected and heard before. Millions of new-born calves are torn away from their mothers each day in the dairy industry, Millions of vulnerable calves who are crying for their mothers and will never see them again.