Keeping the lesson light and dairy

Dunsmore Elementary students on Tuesday met the source of their cheese and yogurt — Holly and Milk Dud, a cow and calf that were brought by as part of a “mobile dairy” classroom.

For some children, it was their first time seeing live cows up close. Holly and Milk Dud, the calf, were introduced by Laura LaFayette of the Dairy Council of California in her mobile classroom — a truck and trailer parked on the schoolyard.

There she showed the children the nutrient-filled alfalfa hay that cows eat, regurgitate into cud, then swallow and digest in their four-compartment stomach. They also learned that 3-year-old, 1,100-pound Holly drinks a bathtub full of water each day.

LaFayette demonstrated milking Holly by hand before showing the children a milking claw to speed up the process. The steps after milking a cow, she explained, involve cooling and then heating the milk before consumption.

Near the end of her lecture, LaFayette surprised the students by introducing Milk Dud, a 6-day-old pink-nosed bull calf that the children pet from his shoulder to his hip.

Principal Karen Stegman said it was the first time a cow had visited the school in at least 22 years.

“Most of our kindergartners go to a farm on their kindergarten field trip, but then they don’t ever see or do anything with farm animals again,” Stegman said. “It’s one of those things I know we can’t get every year, so when we have the opportunity, we’d like to grab it.”

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