Our joyful Jerseys
Jersey cows are a small, gentle breed, renowned for their docile nature. Every cow is an individual and over time, as with your best friends, you get to know the special, lovable character and quirky little ways of each one.
Originally from the island of Jersey, where they were bred to live solely off lush pasture, they are highly efficient converters of grass to milk, so are ideally suited to Smiling Tree’s wholly pasture-fed system, where they graze outside all year round. They are raised on organically grown pasture – their natural diet - of diverse grasses, clovers, wildflowers and herbs. In winter we supplement their diet with our home-grown hay and they are never fed grains, which change the composition of the milk.
Healthy & happy cows
Our consideration for raising healthy, happy cows to produce our special nutrient-rich raw dairy starts with the soil. Our farming methods nurture the soil and as a result of the natural and intimate symbiotic relationship that develops between soil and roots, the plants in our pastures can draw up a variety of minerals and other nutrients from deep down. So when our cows munch on their daily diet they take in that natural diversity of nutrients and pass it on into their milk for you to drink.
Free-range all year
Cows have a built-in sat nav so that no matter which field they are grazing, they always know the way to the milking parlour, to a cool and shady straw bed that is out of the summer heat, or to a deep bed of clean straw on a wet winter’s night. We give our cows access to fresh grazing every day of the year but when they do come in on a cold night we make sure our cows’ bedding is kept meticulously clean and never dirty or built up.
Keep their calves
We have always run a cow-calf system, starting with our first two house cows in 2006. So as a matter of routine, all the cows at Smiling Tree Farm keep their calves at foot for as long as possible, usually until weaning at 5-6 months old. We explain in detail how we run our cow-calf dairy in a series of Pirate's Code blog posts.
Treated with compassion & respect
We halter-train our calves from a young age. They become very trusting, friendly and easy to handle as they grow up. Having a relationship with each individual cow and calf is intrinsic to our compassionate way of farming. Every animal is called by name and treated with respect and gentle kindness.
Following organic principles, our dairy cows are never routinely given antibiotics, drugs or other chemical treatments. Our herd health plan focuses on prevention through supporting and maintaining good health, careful observation and stress-free handling.
We very rarely have to use any antibiotics on the farm. In fact, only one of our dairy cows has ever had to have an antibiotic treatment - our oldest cow, Lollipop. If, on the odd occasion, an animal does require treatment through illness or accident, any medication is given under strict veterinary supervision according to the health and welfare of the animal. In such a case, the particular animal is removed from the production line for at least twice the legal withdrawal period to ensure your milk is completely drug and antibiotic free.