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What’s New, Moos?

May 31, 2012
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

Just when you think you've heard about everything possible, try this on for size.

A dairy farmer in the neighboring state of Wisconsin had a prize cow that had been walking with a limp for some time, so he called his local veterinarian. After an examination, the cow was treated not with a painkiller, but with a chiropractic adjustment, consisting of a full-length spinal massage and subtle adjustments to vertebrae.

So, Doc, do you submit that bill to MOOdicare?

I came across this story a couple of days ago while on the Internet, and decided it was worthy of mention.

The story claims that the nation's dairy farmers are turning more and more to new ways of pampering their herds in order to gain more benefits from their animals, with the rising prices being paid for dairy products, something the consumer is well aware of.

The logic is simple. Ask any dairy producer and they'll tell you a happy cow gives more milk.

So what is the secret to a happy cow? It's actually a multi part answer - Lots of feed, keep them comfortable and give them room to roam.

But today's dairy farmer is coming up with even more ideas to keep Bossy contented.

As was mentioned earlier, chiropractic care, including massage and treatment for calves, is growing in popularity. Another idea is waterbeds a water-filled cushion that bossy can lie on to chew her cud in soft comfort.

But some producers are going a step further. Free stall barns now have water misting systems and lots of fans to cool the animals off in warm weather, and heaters for colder times. There are facilities with brush systems that a cow can walk under and get a quick back scratch, or scratch the ears and head. And, try a whole barn music system, playing some the finest in classical music for a restful environment. According to one story I saw, in Germany, for example, the Dortmund Concert Hall plays recordings of different classical pieces for specific cows. The hall then serves milk from those specific cows during live concerts featuring those same pieces.

Do these methods really work? So far, there isn't a lot of scientific proof that says "Yes", but a lot of producers say they can tell the difference with their pampered beasts. The cows give more milk, the milk is better quality and the animals seem to have better dispositions.

So what about the three factors for a happy cow? Lots of feed, keep them comfortable and give them room to roam.

Keeping plenty of feed available is a no-brainer. Food and water aplenty keep the cow happy. It would make me happy. Comfort? A waterbed wasn't too bad for me, back in the day, so I can see why cows might find them appealing. Room to Roam. Hmm, who enjoys being cooped up at their desk all day or in a vehicle. Everyone needs to stretch out, so why not cows?

While all these things sound great, most experts in the dairy field agree that producers need to think hard about introducing new ideas to a herd that is already contented.

When you get right down to it, cows and milk have been around a long-long time. There's no point in trying to fix something that really isn't broken, is there?



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