Many folks ask us how our farmers take care of Desi Cows, how the milking happens, how much milk is fed to calves, etc. We thought to clarify some of their questions in this post where, invariably we will also talk about the Village Culture, Soil, and Farming in general...since it’s a complete ecosystem wherein each element is deeply in tune with the other elements and components.
So, let’s talk about Desi Cows and the Village Culture!
Cows, Grazing, and Milking!
In most cases, Cows go out to graze in the morning at 8-9am and would return from grazing around 5pm.
Along with cows, her calves would also join in this grazing activity and would be with her whole day, drinking her milk. Cows, and especially Calves, love running around, throwing tantrums at mums and so (like how human babies do, lol 😲😀😊).
When they get home in the evening, usually, the mother in the farmer family does ‘Dohan’* (the word Dohan itself also has its roots in Ethical Milking, please check our footnote) and take her milk. The cow, during ‘Dohan’ remains profoundly still (yes!), and only allows someone she is dear to, to take her milk. A new member or even an existing member who has not done ‘Dohan’ before will not be able to take milk from a Desi cow! A Desi cow or we have heard, even a Buffalo, is likely to kick that person if that happens 😂
And since her babies already have taken their share, we take the remaining milk which would be around 1/1.5 litre (one of the reasons desi milk costs 90 per liter) for human consumption (but that’s alright, of course).
Cows, Oxen, and Farming
What happens to the male calves? For a farmer family, a male calf is equally or even more important since they help plough the land.
Oxen, unlike Tractors, enrich the soil by walking which helps in two distinct ways —
1. Their rhythmic walk allows soil to become porous which helps it retain the rainwater and give nutrients to crops/plants much more easily
2. The Gomaya (cow dung) of the Oxen/Cow helps rejuvenate soil since it has Billions of healthy bacteria which are indispensable to maintain the richness of the soil and to do farming year around and take multiple crops
The cow, after she has stopped giving milk is still ‘useful’ (honestly, we don’t like this word, but city people always have this stupid utilitarian view 😠 but we thought to just roll ahead) because of byproducts like Gomaya and Gaumutra, both of which are used to make Jeevamritham, an organic/natural fertiliser that our farmers use to enrich the soil. Moreover, for a village person, a cow due to her emotional intelligence has developed the bond with the family. Farmer never leaves her and a cow doesn’t even like leaving.
There are rare cases where an extremely poor farmer has no choice but to part ways with her cow and in such cases we have collaborated with a Gaushala (being run by the Dhyan Foundation) in Mandya where we facilitate the donation process between such farmer and the Gaushala.
We don’t ask whether a Dog gets abandoned when he gets old. One of the reasons people are asking these questions is because they have zero exposure of village life and have no idea about how deeply cows and oxen are connected with a farmer family. We don’t think villages are perfect, but cities and citizens can learn a heck ton from seemingly simple-minded, but far more intelligent village folks. See, asking questions is fine, the problem arises when questions are not questions but more like accusations asked from a particular vantage point where you think you already have the answer. In such cases, such folks are just looking for mistakes and loopholes, not for answers.
What Happens to the Cow When She Passes Away?
Most our farmers bury the cow right in the field when she passes away. So even when the cow is dead, she nourishes the soil.
This complex and beautiful system has remained unchanged for thousands of years. We are not doing anything new here. Our whole effort is to revive whatever worked for 10,000 years — one may call it Sanskriti, Sansakara, System, etc. The idea is to bring back what worked so well and stood the test of time. That’s all.
As we have said before, we are not thought leaders or leaders of any kind, we have established Mother Nature (Bhoomi Tai) as our guiding light and we believe in her.
*Dohan: An ancient non-exploitative, ethical milking process where calf/calves have equal rights on the milk the Cow gives. Farmers usually keep two ‘anchals’ free for the calf to suck on.