As part of our larger project to improve the welfare of dairy cattle, Eyes on Animals visited a free-run dairy farm owned by Marc and Ingrid Havermans in Moerdijk today. A unique type of farm, as the dairy cows walk and rest on a large floor made out of compost, there is plenty of space and a special roof that closes and opens according to sunlight and temperature. What makes this place also different from standard dairy farms is that the male and female calves are kept with their mother for at least 3 weeks after their birth. After they are placed in a spacious group-pen with straw and are offered milk via an automatic nipple-feeder system. It does not replace the real mom, but at least offers the calf the ability to perform sucking behaviour. The calves stay here until around 4 months of age. The lactating cows have access to robot milkers and thus can decide when they want to be milked. Marc Havermans explains further the way his farm is run via a film that you can watch by clicking here.