Dairy cows sleep on waterbeds

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 12:03pm

Some farmers provide waterbeds for their dairy cows in an effort to boost milk production.

The more rest you get, the better you perform.

It's not only true for humans but animals too.

That's why some farmers in Pennsylvania don't mind spending money to make sure their dairy cows sleep in "utter'" comfort.

"We have about 250-thousand waterbeds in 20 countries."

Ernie Bert is the local distributor for DCC Waterbeds,

DCC duel chamber cow waterbeds.

A year ago more than 100 were installed at Darrell Martin's farm in Greencastle and the Holsteins seem to like them.

 "I'm big, but these cows are seven times my size! Oh, don't go away. I'm friendly, really I am! I'm friendly. You want to keep them comfortable and happy. Water it's simply amazing! It only takes 14 gallons to support a 1,600 pound cow or a 240 pound man."

The more rest, the more milk.

Like some people. The cows like to stay off their hooves as much as possible, about 12 to 14 hours a day.

"The dairy cow will make the majority of her milk laying down, so the longer we can keep her in her stall lying down producing milk, the better it is for the farmer."

"In Pennsylvania, there are about 500,000 dairy cows and tonight, about 9,000 of these lucky ladies get to enjoy waterbed comfort, yeah."

"When she lays down, those pressure points can create swelling, abrasions, sores, but, on a waterbed, we're floating the cow."

For a large herd, like the one we visited, it not practical to have the animals go out to pasture, so the waterbed can be a huge help.

The cost of waterbed is about 200 dollars each, but farmers make back that expense with additional milk production.

"These are all inside, typically in a free style barn so the cows have free choice of what bed they lay on. I think some do have a set bed that they like to sleep in. These beds are very consistent in the fact that they are going to be the same 10 years from now as the day we put them in. Same comfort level for the cow and cows will love consistency."

So tonight in Pennsylvania do you think more cows or people will be sleeping on a water bed?

"I would have to guess cows maybe. I'm not sure how popular waterbeds are any more, but they sure are popular for cows."

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