THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With a heavy heart, selling their drama company, a result of ten years of hard work, Shibu C and Bindhu Shibu were left with a suitcase of clothes and Rs 20,000. Shibu, who was the producer of the drama company and Bindhu, one of its artists, had fallen in love and got married after ‘Agraganyan’, their first drama. Having not much co-operation from both their families, the situation made them wonder ‘what next’. That is when they thought of risking their little money to buy cows.
To begin with, they had two cows, ‘Paaru’ and ‘Vellachi’, to meet their daily expenses. Two became ten and then it became impossible for them to accommodate all within the limited space of their rented house. Very soon, with the meagre savings, they purchased 75 cents of lush green field at Panachamoodu. Now, after eleven years, they have become the owners of Divya farm, a dairy farm having 146 cows, including 30 calves, of which ‘Sundari’, the biggest of the lot who bagged the‘Best Cow’ in Kazhakkoottam block, is their pet.
You can see different breeds of cows like the Holstein-Friesian, Brown Jersey and Sindhi at the farm. “Ninety per cent of the breeds in our farm are Holstein-Friesian. Milking all of them fetches us around 750 litres of milk per day,” says Shibu. They supply milk to hotels, Milma societies, for 200 families and also 350 litres of milk to the Meriiboy ice-cream factory, charging Rs 30 per litre.
Their day starts at 3.30 am with the cleaning of the cows and feeding. The couple do the milking by themselves as they are totally against the use of milking machines. “Using these machines, we tend to ignore the quality of milk and also the presence of some infection found in the animal,” says Bindhu. By around 4.30 am, their five-year-old daughter Divya gets up to help her parents.
“She is the one who attends people standing in queue for getting their share of milk,” said Bindhu. Milking gets over by 8 am, after which the couple set out to the fields to pluck grass for the cows. By noon, the cows are again given a bath and the second turn of milking begins with soft music played in the background.
“Music is a good way to entertain the cows and also to distract them while milking,” says Bindhu.
Trying to extend the farm, the couple are now building another shed with a space able to accommodate more than 65 cows which they are going to purchase within the next few days.
This couple, for their back-breaking work, have received the State Dairy Farmers’ Award and several other awards.