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U.S. dairy cows get spa treatment

By Food in Canada staff   

Business Operations Research & Development Dairy dairy cows Dairy Farmers

Dairy farmers are adding classical music and waterbeds in an effort to increase dairy cows’ milk output

Chilton, Wis. – It’s a well-known fact that comfortable and contented cows give more milk.

So it’s with this fact in mind that dairy farmers in the U.S. are taking some unusual steps to ensure their cows are comfortable and happy.

Normally, keeping cows happy is pretty simple, reports The Associated Press: feed the cows well, keep the temperature comfortable and give them room to move around.

But more recently, reports the Associated Press, some dairy farmers have started offering their cows classical music, sessions with chiropractors, and waterbeds.


Waterbeds for cows?

In fact, the story reports that one dairy farmer in Ohio installed $70,000 worth of waterbeds on his farm about a year ago. It took his 220 dairy cows a few months to adjust to the softer surface

Veterinarian Sara Gilbertson performs a chiropractic adjustment on a dairy cow in Wisconsin. Photo: Dinesh Ramde/Associated Press.

but now they seem to enjoy it.

The farmer says the result has been milk with fewer impurities and in greater volume – cows that used to give about 80 pounds of milk per day now average about 90 pounds.

But the farmer also told the Associated Press that he couldn’t credit the waterbeds with all the improvement. He had also upgraded ventilation in his barns and installed misting technology to keep the herd cool.

Classical milk

In Germany, the Dortmund Concert Hall plays recordings of different classical pieces for specific cows. The hall then serves milk from the respective cows during live concerts featuring those same pieces of music.

Does it work?

So, do these techniques work? The Associated Press reports that there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims. But dairy farmers say they can see the difference: cows are giving more milk, the milk quality is improving and the herds seem to be enjoying the indulgences.

Dairy experts say the concept is entertaining but they also agree that dairy farmers need to be careful about introducing new techniques into a herd that’s already relatively comfortable.

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