More milk from comfortable Swedish cows

The cows are “going to the mattresses”!

Instead of the usual hard rubber mat, some lucky Swedish cows will now enjoy a two inch thick mattress with a protective layer of Goretex developed especially to give them a more comfortable life.

Swedish Radio reports:

Custom designed mattresses to get the cows to give more milk and live longer. That is the expectation of  the Natural resource program at the Nils Holgersson Gymnasium, Skurup.

“Research has shown that the milk is produced when the cow is lying down” says Göran Thorsson, barn foreman at the Gymnasium. “It is when she is resting and ruminating that production starts and a cow needs to be lying down for twelve hours a day to feel really good”. Most of his  cows are lying down, and some seem to be really enjoying themselves with outstretched legs but at first they were greatly skeptical explains Göran Thorsson. 

“At first they did not dare to lie down.  They just stood and stared for several hours and we were really worried that we had made ​​the wrong bet, but then they stepped gently up and once they settled we could hardly get them up gain”, he laughs. 

In an adjacent box lie cows soon after giving birth in a thick layer of straw but using  straw with many cows is difficult to keep clean, and too heavy for the cleaners. The purpose of the specially designed mattresses is not only milk  production but also to give the cows a longer life. On hard surfaces they often injure their legs which leads to infections.  Additionally, hard surfaces stress the cows’ joints and the reduced stress is intended to extend their life. “A dairy cow lives five years on average  and we of course hope that the mattresses keep them healthier and for longer”. 

After just a few weeks with the new mattress it seems that both cows and their carers are satisfied, but there is a problem. “We have a tough job to get them up in the morning” he says, smiling a wide smile. “When we normally arrived at 5 am the cows were all up, but now they are all still lying down and can be hard to rouse”.

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