Their first stop on the tour was the milking parlor. The University of Illinois Dairy is a state of the art facility: recessed parlor for easy access to the udders and state of the art milking machines held in place automatically by a vacuum system designed for maximum production. Each of the cows is milked three times a day and produces up to 100 lbs. (or about 12 gallons) of milk per day, says our tour guide, Bruce, graduate student in dairy sciences and formerly of Richards' Jersey Farm of Logan, Utah.
Bunna and Zoe inspecting the milkers in the milking parlor.
On the next stop of the tour Bunna and Biff were granted VIP access to the cows. They got so close they were in danger of being soused with snot at every snort.
Jenny and Zoe with their favorite cow: 7996.
The tour proceeded to the feed shelter where they got to look at what the milk cows are fed.
Bruce describing the nutritional value of hay.
The diet of these dairy cows consists of a unique mixture of:
...corn (no, Bunna is not holding a purse)...
...and of course, the 11 herbs and spices that Bruce would not divulge. Hmmmm. Sounds familiar. It makes Bunna crave milk more than fortnightly.
Zoe's favorite part was by far the calves.
9218. Zoe called this one "dee" (she thought it looked like a deer). No matter how much Bunna and Biff mooooed, she was convinced it was a deer.
The tour also included an opportunity to reach into a live cow's stomach--all the way from the rumen to the abomasum and back--and take a turn milking the cow, manually. Zoe was getting tired, so Bunna and Biff had to excuse themselves before that part, but we hear those who did stay for that part have switched to soy.
All in all Bunna and Biff and Zoe had an udderly great time. Who knew that was how milk got from the cow to Bunna's cereal bowl? Thanks to Bruce and Brittany (and of course the cows) Bunna's post-test celebration went off with a bang.