Ohio dairy farm coddles cows with…waterbeds

by Rebecca on January 23, 2012

in Animals in the News

By Cindy Leise, The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram

If you want great milk, you need happy and healthy cows. At Conrad’s Dairy Farm, that means pampering their milk producers with waterbeds.

  • One of Richard and David Conrad's milk cows rests on a sawdust-covered waterbed at their Wellington, Ohio, farm.Photo by Chuck Humel, AP

    One of Richard and David Conrad’s milk cows rests on a sawdust-covered waterbed at their Wellington, Ohio, farm.

After 10 months of use, dairymen Richard and David Conrad gave the waterbeds a thumbs-up during a visit Thursday to the farm on Indian Hollow Road.

“You make them happy, they’ll make you happy,” explained Richard Conrad.

When the waterbeds were installed in March, the cows were a little skittish because they weren’t used to putting their hooves onto the thick rubber bladders that hold the water, according to the Conrads.

But the cows soon discovered that lying on the beds was pretty darn comfortable, the brothers said.

The brothers paid about $55,000 for Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds for their 240 cows and another $15,000 or so for the concrete bases on which the waterbeds rest.

On top of the waterbeds is a dusting of sawdust and lime for additional bedding comfort and cleanliness.

Richard Conrad thinks the waterbeds could pay for themselves in as little as three years because of an annual $6,000 savings in the cost of sawdust and a better price for their milk.

The farmers said the quality of the cows’ milk improved and the farm was able to lower its somatic cell count to about 100,000 cells per milliliter, compared with 150,000 to 200,000 cells per milliliter before the waterbeds were installed.

Read more: USA Today

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