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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Best On-Campus Animal: The Tercero Cows


Davis loves dairy cows, as seen in the consecutive winners of the Best On-Campus Animal Award in 2016 , 2017 and now 2018. If you’re near the Tercero area, it’s hard to miss the bovine herd as they mull around, socialize in their pens and blanket the nearby dormitories in their aroma.

The Tercero herd is found on Dairy Road, opposite the herd of freshmen in the Tercero dormitories. During the winter, the cows are boarded inside pens to avoid the cold rains. In the spring, they return to the pasture to graze and enjoy the sun. Pedestrians and cyclists can pass by and moo to the curious, friendly herd.

Out of 334 cows, 105 of them are milked daily, while the others are either dry or too young. To the untrained eye, the cows may actually all look similar, but assistant facility manager Maria Patino explained that there are two types.

“We have Holsteins, the big black-and-white ones, and then we have Jerseys, those little brown ones,” Patino said. “The Holsteins produce a lot more milk. The Jerseys make a little less milk, but they make a lot of protein and a lot of fat in their milk.”   

All the milk produced by the cows makes its way down to Hilmar Creamery in Modesto to be crafted into cheese.

As for the infamous — or famous, if that’s your cup of tea — smell of the cows, Patino offers her own take.

“I just get used to it.” Patino said. “I honestly don’t even smell it anymore.”

For the real cow lovers, Patino touched upon the various internship opportunities available with the Tercero herd. Every quarter, students can learn about managing a dairy herd or directly feeding and working with the cattle. For credit, ANS 49C is a class created to teach students proper techniques for handling dairy cows. New interns and students are always welcome.

To learn more about the Tercero cows, you can always stop by and wave howdy to the mooers or follow the dairy facility on Instagram: @ucddairy. When asked for their opinion on the win, the cows responded with a unanimous, “MOOO!”


Written by: Nicolas Rago & George Ugartemendia — features@theaggie.org


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