Time for two – cow and calf

A new welfare project for cow and calf, from 1 October 2019


The joint project of Demeter HeuMilch farmers and the livestock protection organisation PROVIEH is so far unique in Germany and can change the future of calf rearing for the better.

"Especially in dairy farming, calves are often the ones who suffer the most from the husbandry system. The separation and separate rearing far away from the mother cow is a good idea.

not into the nature of these social animals, which can form deep friendships with each other," says Stefanie Pöpken, expert at PROVIEH e.V. "This is why cow-bound calf rearing with the mother or wet nurse is considered to be particularly animal-friendly. We are pleased that together with Demeter HeuMilch farmers we are able to define criteria for cow-bound calf rearing and create real added value in the area of animal welfare".

In cow-bound calf rearing according to the Mutter-Amme-Kalb (MAK) criteria, mother and calf remain together after birth beyond the usual time. The calves grow up with the mother and/or wet nurse for at least four weeks. The criteria must be applied to all animals on the farm, male and female. The male calves remain on the farm and are marketed later. Long distance transport of live animals can thus be avoided. Demeter hay-milk farmers receive a reasonable price by selling the milk, thus guaranteeing compliance with the standards and high-quality rearing of the calves. PROVIEH e.V. has visited all the farms of the producer association and confirms that the criteria are being met.

"We regard mother- and nurse-bound calf rearing as a particularly appropriate way of keeping calves, as it particularly meets the needs of the calves and their mothers. Social contact, licking, personal hygiene by their mothers and nurses and suckling on the udder are good for the calves", explains Rolf Holzapfel, Demeter farmer and managing director of Demeter HeuMilch Bauern.


Demeter haymilk farmers: Demeter MilchBauern Süd w.V. was founded in July 2013 and now has 31 members from the Allgäu, Lake Constance, Linzgau and Upper Swabia regions. All farms are Demeter and hay milk (gtS) certified. Under the trademark "Demeter HeuMilch Bauern" they record their own Demeter hay-milk and sell it to many small and large dairies in Southern Germany. They work together with cheese dairies and the trade on an equal footing, and together they develop new products. For three years now the producer association has been bottling its own drinking milk and yoghurt. www.heumilchbauern.de

Demeter MilchBauern Süd w.V. - mail: info@heumilchbauern.de

PROVIEH e.V., founded in 1973, is Germany's oldest professional association for the protection of farm animals. We stand for respectful and species-appropriate animal husbandry and represent this in politics, food trade, agriculture and the consumer. Our work is financed by donations from members and non-members who want to advance our work and wish for a change in the way we deal with farm animals.

PROVIEH e.V. - mail: poepken@provieh.de


Further information at




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