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About our Cows, Oxen and Adoption Program
Every cow is different from every other cow just as every human is different from any other. The soul within the cow's body gives a unique individuality. If you spend a little time observing the cows and oxen, you will notice this and come to realize the cows have a society of their own.
The cow is a very sociable animal. All the cows will stick together most of the time. When they are in the pasture chewing on the grass, sometimes one loses awareness that the others have moved to another pasture. All of a sudden, the cow will look up and be surprised to find no other cow or ox. Usually you hear a lot of mooing, then once she figures out where the others went she will start running in that direction. It is quite fun to watch such a big animal run. They are surprisingly quite agile.
Right in front of our house is a cow path that connects one pasture with another. The path goes downhill and the cows like to run down the hill and then walk in front of the house. So we can look out the kitchen window and see them running and then look out the living room window and see them walking. Sometimes the lead cow, which is often Gita, stops walking and there is a traffic jam in front of our house. Everyone has to wait for him to decide to move; the other cows would never dare to shove him.
There are subgroups within the major group. For instance, Jaya and Nanda, a trained team, will often be seen together but a little distant from the others. The old girls have a tendency to stay with each other. Separate from the herd, the young oxen Balaram or Krsna can be seen each with a girlfriend. They will stick with that one girl for a while and then start associating with another girl for a while.
It's not that we have a unique herd; all herds have a society structure. There is always the possibility that when you introduce a new cow or ox into the herd they will not be accepted. When we moved to the ISCOWP Farm in September of 1997, we brought the rescued oxen Jitendra and Partha with us. We were a little concerned that they would be bullied. There was a little pushing and shoving at first, but they ended up getting along nicely.
If you looked at the Minimum Cow Standards on this site you will see that there are many problems to avoid when dealing with a cow protection program. One of them is over breeding with the inaccurate concept that you can run a cow protection program as you would a commercial dairy. The reason this doesn't work is that in a cow protection program you do not kill the young bull calves, unproductive milk cows, and the old and infirm as you do in a commercial dairy program. The killing provides a profit margin.
Cow protection is not a profit making business. That is why your adoption donation is so important. Your donation helps provide for the care of your cow. It does not take into consideration barn construction and upkeep, water maintenance, training, and all the ingredients of a working farm. However, it does provide for your adopted cow's general feed and care. Therefore, it helps tremendously in carrying on the protection of the ISCOWP herd.
Some of our cows are adopted by more than one person and this helps us greatly in caring for that cow especially with medical needs when they arise. As the majority of our herd is approaching old age there are far more medical needs than a few years ago. Most cows do not live to old age since in the cattle and dairy industry they are either slaughtered young for meat or the moment they do not produce enough milk. Therefore, caring for cows in old age and disease is a new frontier in which we appreciate all the help you can give.