NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 23, 2013

Strange noises turn out to be cows missing their calves

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — NEWBURY — Strange noises coming from High Road near Sunshine Dairy Farm Monday night and into yesterday morning prompted local police to alert residents that there’s nothing spooky or scary going on.

According to Newbury police Sgt. Patty Fisher, the noises are coming from mother cows who are lamenting the separation from their calves. The separation of mother cows from their calves is a yearly occurrence and is a normal function of a working dairy farm, Fisher said.

“It happens every year at the same time,” she said.

Fisher said her department received at least four calls between midnight and 7 a.m yesterday morning regarding inhuman sounding noises, prompting her to post a quick message on its Facebook page yesterday:

“Residents in the area of Sunshine Dairy Farm may notice loud noises coming from the dairy cows at all hours of the day and night. We’ve been informed that the cows are not in distress and that the noises are a normal part of farming practices.”

Separating mother cows from their calves isn’t without controversy, with many bloggers and animal rights activists calling the practice inhumane and appalling. Mother cows are separated from calves shortly after they are born so calves don’t drink their mothers’ milk. The calves are placed in small hutches until they are old enough to roam with other young cows, according to several dairy farm websites.