Like small children, the cows had to check out everything.
As they were herded to the new milking parlor at Perrydell Farm to be milked Thursday, nearly every one stopped to smell a new wooden post and metal fences. One discovered a water trough and lapped up water.
"They are very curious," said Donna Perry, whose husband, Tom, is one of three Perry brothers who own the farm.
The afternoon milking session was the first at the York Township farm since a fire destroyed the milking parlor in November.
Thursday was also the day the cows came home.
"It's great to see them back," said neighbor Sarah Tateosian, who, along with her husband, Lou, stopped by the farm to see the cows.
Fire: The fire, which was ruled accidental, started near a vacuum pump and severely damaged the milking parlor.
With no place to milk the cows, they were evacuated the night of the blaze by CART, which stands for the County Animal Response Team, and farmers from across the area, to a disused milking parlor at a Windsor Township farm. Donna Perry said she was amazed by and grateful for the support the farm received from the community.
The cows remained at the Windsor Township farm for just over five months.
"The only downside was there was no access to pasture. We like to let them get out to pasture on a daily basis," said Tom Perry.
It also meant longer hours for farm employees. They had to make the trek to the Windsor Township farm twice a day to milk the cows and had to haul feed down and bring milk back to Perrydell.
New parlor: An all new milking parlor was completed at the end of March and in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Perrys and area farmers began the process of bringing the cows back home.
It took them a little under four hours to transport 111 cows back to Perrydell.
At first, the cows stood in the pasture for about half an hour checking it out, and then one kicked up its hind legs and took off running. The rest quickly followed, Donna Perry said.
"It was so fun to see them running and kicking up their heels," she said. "It's such a good feeling."
The new parlor boasts a different layout and can milk more cows at once. Twelve cows were milked at one time at the old parlor, built 40 years ago, and the new one can milk 16 at a time. That should cut milking time by about an hour.
It will also feature a slowly moving gate that will nudge the cows into the parlor.
The milking parlor is not only new to the Perrys and farm employees, but also to the cows.
"I think it'll come back to them (the cows) as being familiar," Donna Perry said.
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