Farm animals, Today on the Farm, tour

UPDATE: We selected triplet names!

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We want to thank everyone who submitted names for our triplets!

This was a tough decision to make, because there were a lot of good names suggested, but we had to make sure we hadn’t used any of the names in our herd before. We have had literally hundreds of L cows throughout our existence, so this was a challenge!

The most frequently suggested names that we loved were:

  • Live, Laugh, Love
  • Lavender, Lilac, Lily
  • Lollipop, Lemon Drop, Laffy Taffy / Life Saver

Unfortunately, most of these names had already been used. So we decided on a more unique set of names that played upon a well-known phrase …

Livalot, Lafalot, and Luvalot!

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You can see the surprise on Herd Manager Blake Hansen’s face when he realized there were three babies!

Mama and babies are all doing well, and are loving the attention they are getting. Check out how rambunctious they are in this video from The Courier, along with their story:

KWWL Channel 7 also came out to meet the trio.

With the birth of these triplets, it’s been a crazy few weeks at Hansen’s Dairy farm, and something we may not see again in our lifetime!

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Congratulations to this mama, who now lives up to her name!

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Farm animals, Today on the Farm, tour

3x the fun: Hansen’s Dairy cow gives birth to triplet heifers

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One of our Holstein cows, aptly named Legend, gave birth to triplet heifers on May 17. (Photo courtesy Ellen Kaminsky)

Hansen’s Dairy farm made history on Friday, May 17, 2019. You might even call the event “Legendairy.”

A cow on our farm gave birth to TRIPLETS! They are all alive, and they are all heifers. Experts say the odds of a cow having surviving triplets are about 1 in 400,000 births. Add in the fact that they are all girls — which is what we dairy farmers want, since only females give milk — and the odds go up exponentially.

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The triplet heifers at Hansen’s Dairy farm are all thriving.

A cow’s gestational period is 40 weeks, just like humans. In the last 20 years, we have only had two other cows pregnant with triplets, and neither set was carried for longer than five months before miscarriage.

The cow who gave birth to these lucky girls is named Legend. And now, she certainly lives up to her name.

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When Legend went into labor, herd manager Blake Hansen was only expecting twins, not triplets. (Photo courtesy Ellen Kaminsky)

Herd manager Blake Hansen knew that Legend was going to have twins. She happened to deliver right at the time when a tour group was visiting the farm, so two of the tourists got a true “hands-on” experience and helped deliver the first two calves!

Blake was surprised when Legend delivered these two big, beautiful heifer calves, but still looked pretty round. That’s when he realized there was a third one on the way.

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Legend gives Blake a lick of appreciation for his assistance with the triplet babies. (Photo courtesy Ellen Kaminsky)
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(Photo courtesy Ellen Kaminsky)

The calves weighed in at 85, 85 and 80 pounds. That’s 250 pounds of baby that Legend carried for 39 weeks — just one week shy of full term! They all came out facing the proper direction, which is even more amazing. And Legend is doing well, successfully passing all the afterbirth naturally.

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These triplets will have a unique bond growing up together at Hansen’s Dairy.

The sire of these triplets, or father, is also unique. His name is Glory-Road M Apple Crisp-ET, and he is the first bull that Blake Hansen has bred that was sent to stud, or a semen company. Having a bull that is desired by semen companies so that other dairy farmers may purchase his semen is a rare accomplishment, especially from a small farm like ours.

Legend herself is the daughter of a twin, who was named Lois. Legend is 5 years old, turning 6 in July, so she has given birth to four calves in her lifetime. She’s already produced over 100,000 pounds of milk in four lactations. For those in the dairy industry, she classified at 5-00 EX-90 VEEVE.

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Mom looks a little overwhelmed, don’t you think?!

Now, these babies need names. We always use the same initial as the mother to name the calves, and we try to give each calf a name that has never been used on our farm before. This is a challenge, because we have dozens of L cows already!

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Luke and Leia are a current set of twins on the Hansen’s Dairy farm. The farm has had lots of twins, but never surviving triplets.

Other “L” sets of twins we’ve named include:

  • Longitude and Latitude
  • Luke and Leia
  • Lois and Lane
  • LaLa and Loopsy
  • Lego and Land

So, we need your help. Give us your best triplet names — remember, all beginning with L! Having a theme to the three names is even better!

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What an accomplishment for this “Legendairy” cow!

 

Farm animals, For kids, Today on the Farm, tour

5 tips for touring Hansen’s Dairy farm

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The trolley takes hands-on tourists around the farm.

As the calendar turns from April to May, families naturally seek out activities to do outside. Maybe one of those activities is touring Hansen’s Dairy farm?

We aim to make your tour a fun, educational and possibly surprising experience. Here are 5 things you need to know before your visit.

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The hands-on tour allows you to get up close and personal with our tame kangaroos!
  1. The hands-on tour is the best (if we may brag).

The best tour experience we offer is our hands-on tour. This guided tour takes you through the process of getting milk from the cow to your table. You’ll take a trolley ride around the farm, then take a walking tour to see all the cows and the facilities up close. Along the way, you’ll get to feed a calf, milk a cow by hand, and pet the kangaroos and goats. Then we’ll hop on the trolley to go back to the Tour Center, where you’ll make and eat your own butter, sample milk and cheese curds, and get your own serving of ice cream. Children 3 and younger are free; all other participants are $12. Tours begin at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and you must have a reservation. Tours start at 3:30 because of the cows’ schedule — that’s when they’re being milked and the calves are being fed. This tour will take about 2 hours.

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Adults have fun on the hands-on tours, too.

We always make tours by appointment, so dropping in is not recommended. Also, if you can’t make your reservation, please let us know not to expect you. There likely are other groups scheduled at the same time, so we like to avoid making the whole tour wait.

By the way, the hands-on tour is not just fun for kids. Adults will have a blast too, I promise!

Call 319-988-9834 to make your reservation.

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Hands-on tourists get to try milk, cheese curds and ice cream, plus make their own butter.

2. Bring cash or check.

At this time we don’t take debit or credit cards for payment of tours or products. You may want to bring some extra spending money in case you would like to buy products after the tour. We do a good job of teasing your taste buds, just sayin’!

3. Don’t bring a stroller unless it’s an “off-road” or jogging-type stroller.

The farm is mostly gravel and has few concrete areas where it’s smooth to push a stroller. Trying to navigate with an umbrella stroller or travel-system stroller can be very difficult. Either plan to carry the little ones or use a baby carrier. We also have a nice jogging stroller for your use if you would like it, no charge.

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The calves get a little slobbery when they’re drinking their bottle.

4. Don’t dress as if you’re going to a party or a concert.

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At harvest time, feed may be blowing around the farm as it’s being stored.

This is a working farm. The ground may be muddy, the wind might be blowing feed around, a calf could slobber on you, you’ll see cows “relieving” themselves … you get the idea. Dress in old shoes or boots and clothes that can get dirty. I’ve seen open-toed heels, flip-flops, white pants and the like. That’s a recipe for disaster! While we do take a trolley ride to the farm, most of the tour is by foot so you need to be comfortable walking.

By the end of the tour, you will most likely be smelly, too. You may not want to plan to go out to eat afterward if you don’t want to offend other restaurant patrons. Besides, we’ll feed you so many dairy products at the end of the tour, we’ll probably ruin your supper. 🙂

5. (Over)dress for the weather.

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Wearing a hat and gloves, especially for kids, makes your tour more comfortable in the spring.

The weather can be unpredictable. We generally don’t cancel our tours because of weather; we let the tourists decide if they want to brave the rain, wind or snow. However, if you decide to come, know this: a farm is more extreme than the city! If it’s windy in town, it’s twice as bad in the wide open country. We tell people to overdress in the spring and fall because it’s much nicer to have a hat and gloves, even in May, than be cold and uncomfortable. Especially for kids! Remember that about half of the tour is outside, and the trolley has a covered top but open-air sides.

Above all, we want you to have a great experience at the farm. These tips should help you make the best of your trip. Hope to see you soon!