I'm wondering if the mothering instincts are being bred out of any dairy cow breeds, the way that broodiness has been bred out of many production laying chicken breeds. Last month I spent 2 weeks working the poultry tent at our county fair. Next to our tent was the "Mooternity Tent" where dairy cows were brought to deliver their calves. It was a popular event at the fair, crowds of people would wait & watch the calves being born. So I learned a lot about dairy cows and modern milk production methods. I learned that the cows are first bred at age 2, deliver their first calf almost a year later, and then seem to spend the rest of their lives pregnant and/or lactating. The calves are taken away from the cows and raised separately. They drink milk from cows on medications that cannot be sold to humans. The heifers grow up to make milk, the bulls grow up to be beef. This is not a criticism, my family & I drink lots of milk and eat lots of dairy products and I know this is the way to keep milk from costing $10 a gallon. But as I watched the cows with their new calves I wondered if they had less mothering instincts than cows allowed to nurse their own calves and keep them at heel. These cows seemed rather disinterested in their calves, left them lying in the corner of the pen, didn't sniff or lick them much, didn't nurse them. Is that the way cows typically act towards their calves, or is this because of their breed as dairy cows? I know it is to the livestock keeper's advantage to have animals that will keep to their "jobs". If you have an egg ranch you don't want hens that will go broody, but will instead lay 'em & leave 'em as often as possible. If you're a dairy farmer, you want cows that will give lots of milk after birth, and not get all mopey missing their calves. Does anyone know if dairy cow breeds have been selectively bred to diminish their mothering instincts?