A few hours after a cow is born, cows are usually removed from their mother, but they stay in their group until they reach the age of five. After the newborn calf is removed from its mother, it is fed milk replacer or actual milk until they are around 6 to 8 weeks old and begin to wean. Most calves reach the ideal breeding weight around the age of 15 months old.
Before calves begin to wean, they get proper vaccinations, have their horns removed and have any extra teats removed as well. Some male calves are castrated so they can take on the role of a steer.
A typical female cow will give birth to her first calf when she is around two years old. Cows begin to produce their milk shortly after giving birth, but some of them are milked earlier to help reduce the stress of the cow.
Many dairy farmers choose to keep cows in a pasture because it's a cheaper option due to reduced feed costs and storage expenses. Calving cows are usually kept in specified maternity pens where the farmer can keep a close eye on them and provide assistance during the birth if necessary. The average milking herd for many dairy farmers consists of 92 cows that are healthy, four cows with special needs and four cows that have recently given birth.