Dairy cows are provided with a diet what is a mixture of forages, grains and supplements. For a detailed breakdown of what a dairy cow eats, check out our answer to Brandon’s question. Diets are carefully balanced to meet all of the cow’s nutrient requirements for pregnancy, milk production and growth (if she has not yet reached her mature weight).
A lactating cow will consume between 18 and 25 kg of dietary dry matter each day, depending on how much milk she is currently producing. Cows have access to feed and water at all times, except during milking (2 or 3 times per day). On farms with voluntary milking systems, the cows may receive a small amount of grain each time they enter the milking stall (4-8 times per day).