Echo Valley Farm is a small farm located in the backyards of Knoxville TN, Chattanooga, Maryville, and other areas. These areas bump right up to our rolling pastures in Madisonville, TN where our cows are munching on grass and providing fresh, raw milk through a herd share program.
The herd of cows that live here at Echo Valley are a diverse mix of Jersey, Jersey/Brown Swiss crosses, and a few Holsteins. All of the breeding here at Echo Valley Farm is by artificial insemination which allows us to select the best and most diverse genetics to yield premium offspring every time.
What Our Cows Eat
I know what the cows are eating is very important to you or you wouldn’t be here.
As long as grass grows our cows will be grass fed.
It’s my opinion that this is everything wrong with warehousing cows. Cows are meant to graze and to be in the fresh air and wide open space, not cramped in a warehouse with 800 other cows, laying in each other’s E.-coli-poop-soup with high velocity ventilation to suck out the stench and fed 90 pounds of corn and soy a day and pumped full of hormones to keep production up. Yuk!…
Our cows are rotated to fresh pasture twice a day, they leisurely graze on chemical free pastures, have a nap when they decide and live a peaceful unhurried life. They are offered free choice minerals from the salt flats of Utah as well as other premium supplements and minerals.
At milking, we do feed a very small amount of grain, about 3 pounds. The cows know we have a symbolic relationship and contrary to what people might think cows are smart. If there isn’t something in that bowl when they come in there will be no milking – and they’re serious about that.
A tiny bit of grain also give us the opportunity to top dress their feed with a few extra goodies, like kelp, to keep the cows in tip-top shape.
When moms have a baby calf, baby is protected from potential predators by moving the calf into the barn, where mom visits to nurse baby, love on baby, and have some quiet time. It’s so much fun to watch them bonding.
Natural Herd Management
Happy, healthy cows really do give the best milk!
The cows living here at Echo Valley Farm are fed Kelp, Himalayan Salts, as well as a blend of organic human grade supplements for optimum health and nutrition.
We provide 24 hour pasture grazing (except at milking) on chemical free pastures – No Herbicides, No Insecticides, and No Chemical Fertilizers!
And, in the winter, the cows have unlimited access to hay.
They receive daily brushing, proper udder management, and homemade chemical-free fly spray.
And, if you’re checking around with other farms that offer raw milk herd shares asking about their herd management is a must. Unfortunately, not all folks adhere to natural practices for their herds.
The cows are visited by the vet every year for a check-up and of course, if a problem arises, the first thing we do is call the vet!
Although we go way out of our way to avoid using chemicals, medicines and antibiotics on the cows, if all else fails and in the very rare event it becomes medically necessary to treat an animal with conventional medicine to save a cow’s life or to keep it from suffering, that’s what we do. Under NO circumstances is an animal allowed to suffer on our farm!
If a cow is treated with a conventional medicine, the treated cow’s milk is discarded for double the recommended withdraw time. For example, if a cow is treated with a medication and the label or vet says to withdraw the milk for 2 days we always discard the milk for 4 days in a effort to make sure the medicine is clear of the cow’s body.
We go to great lengths to explain our protocols as we understand that you care deeply that what’s in your milk is top quality.
Our Milking Practices
The cows are milked one at a time twice a day (except during dry off periods before calving), using a bucket milker.
Why does this matter? Because we milk the cows one at a time we are able to give each cow individual attention. Each cow is looked over, brushed, sprayed for flies, udder and teats are washed until they’re clean, sanitized once, and then finally milked.
A bucket milker is a closed in system so it keeps your milk free of flies, dust, and other yucky stuff so it’s always clean.
After each milking the milker is broken down and thoroughly cleaned and heat sanitized. This insures you receive the cleanest possible milk!
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Explore the Farm
Click on an image to view a full photo gallery of the farm.