30 May, 2016
Every year in March, something very peculiar happens at our dairy farms in the Netherlands…
As the weather gets drier and temperatures rise, the ground around the farms becomes just dry enough to take a wellington boot or a delicately placed hoof. For the farmers, this is a sign that winter is well and truly over. In a few weeks, green grass will cover the fields and the trees will begin to blossom – Spring is coming!
The Cow Dance!
Arguably more excited than the farmers are their cows, who have usually spent most of the coldest and wettest months inside. The black and white Holsteiners are eager to leave their stables and boy, do they do it in style!
On their return to the fields, “some will jump around, and others will just run, skip, hop or frolic”, explains Laura van Geel, our Social Mission Manager for Benelux. And there is more to it for these female cows than just channeling their inner Darcey Bussell… As true herd animals, they also spend time establishing a new hierarchy, one which they will maintain throughout the summertime.
A Family Occasion
“The cow dance is also a special moment for the farmers and their families,” adds Grietsje Hoekstra, sustainability manager of CONO, the cooperative that our farmers belong to. “Usually everyone helps out, assuring that the pasture is neat and accessible and the fences are in place. It’s great to watch the children as they herd the cows outside for the first time!”
The behavior that we observe during the cow dance is a clear sign for us that these animals are happiest when they’re outside… And that’s just why all the milk that goes into our euphoric ice cream comes from farms that are part of our Caring Dairy programme, one which ensures cows get to spend time outside as part of their daily routine. To find out more about our Caring Dairy programme, click here. Peace, love and cow dancing!