Hello friend! Welcome back to our latest news page. Today we look at a few ways we keep our cows happy and healthy!
Large ceiling fans
Although the cows are housed during the autumn and winter, their sheds are modern & airy and they have freedom to roam around, eat, drink, lie down and taking themselves for milking whenever they want to, 24/7.
We have large ceiling fans to keep the cows cool and the sheds well ventilated. Afterall, happy cows make the tastiest milk!
Cows with Fitbits!
Every cow wears a pedometer that holds really useful information for us farmers. When a cow visits the robot for milking, it detects her indentification number (which is the same as her eartag). By ‘knowing’ which cow it is milking, the robot has stored information about her teat placement, knows approximtley how much milk she is likely to give at milking from each quarter and it also drops down a pre-determined measure of feed for her. If there are any changes to her milk productivity, it may be a warning flag of health issues that may otherwise be undetectable at an early stage. When a cow is in season and wanting to mate (this is known as bulling) she walks futher, so we can track her fertility cycle from the pedometer activty.
Cows sleep on average 4 hours and doze on and off for 8 hours a day.
Cows spend a lot of time lying down, in fact on average a cow sleeps 4 hours a day and doze on and off for 8 hours.
For comfort the cows lie on padded mattresses that are topped with a durable rubber and bedded with oat husks. The oat husks are the by-product from the Morn Flake factory! Being soft, light weight and absorbent husk makes perfect bedding, and ends up in the biodigester to make electric once it is soiled!
Even while housed, the cows diet is still grass-based but fed as silage (grass that has been pickled to preserve it). The silage has a mix of grass, whole-crop maize and cereals to give them the wide variety of vitamins, minerals and fibre, reflecting when they are outside when they feed off a mixture of grasses, flowers and hedgerows. Being ruminant animals they spend a lot of time grazing. They have a four chambered stomach capable of digesting tough fiberous grasses.
Cows, along with sheep, goats, deer and giraffes are ruminent animals. Most ruminents have a 4 chambered stomach & two toed feet.
To help shed loose hair when moulting and keep the cows coats in good condition, the cows love to groom themselves against the automatic rotating brushes. Cows can be seen enjoying a back scratch, face rub, and even flick their tails over the top of the brush for those really hard to reach places! 🙂
Our cows have access to the milking equipment 24/7. Rather than a conventional parlour, our cows come and go as they please for milking, which is all automated with 6 Fullwood Packo Merlin robots. On average a cow goes for milking for every 10 litres she produces. This has many benefits for the cow – mainly she no longer has to carry a heavy udder full of milk, making her more comfortable and less likely to pick up mastitis.
More information can be found on our other blog post Fullwood Merlins – the magic of robotic milking