Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cow Mattresses...

Yesterday we had some special accommodations put in for a few of the cows.

We have four rows of stalls in our cow stable, and each stall has a non-slip, rubber mat installed on top of the concrete.  The reasons for the mat are two-fold...non-slip...which helps to prevent tramped teats and other injuries...and cow comfort.

The rubber mats wear out eventually, and it was time to make some replacements. Jim opted to go with cow mattresses in the third row...he figured it was time to try something different.

I was busy in the morning while they were being installed, and I missed some good photo-ops.  I'll try to describe what happened in the absence of a lot of step by step pictures.

First...the old rubber mats were torn out.  The guys used a digging iron, and popped the mats loose from their concrete anchors.  They then scraped the concrete clean of any loose fodder or sawdust bedding that had gotten underneath the mats.

Next...the mattresses arrived, and the mostly Amish crew began the installation.   The first layer looked kind of like a big rubber raft, like you'd float on in a swimming pool.  I'm not sure how else to describe it.  The second layer looked like a really thick piece of carpet padding.  Both layers were wrapped and sealed inside of a non-slip, water proof, canvas type of material.  The way they are designed, they should stay in place better than the old mats, and loose bedding shouldn't get underneath.

Here's a picture of the guys putting on the finishing touches...

Here's an up close shot of the new mattresses.  They'll never be this clean again...

Cows are leery of new we tried to make them look as "normal" as possible, by putting plenty of sawdust on top for extra bedding...

We knew it would be interesting, when the cows came back in the barn. Anything out of the ordinary is cause for alarm...or at least suspicion.  The pile of old mats and scraps from the installation were too much to resist...

Some of the cows walked right into the stalls with no hesitation, but #280 wasn't too sure.  She had to do a lot of sniffing before she would take that final step...

Things went better than I expected overall, and they were soon all in their stalls.  One cow, however, refused to behave, and opted for a stall in the fourth row.  This morning, she still refused to step on that yellow mat.  After they get dirty enough maybe she'll be willing to try!


  1. The cows will be so happy. Your barn is super clean from top to bottom. I've seen the black mat but this is the first time i've seen yellow one.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. I love your farm posts.... always interesting. Our corn is up here, but flooded at the moment!

  3. you take really good care of your it should be. :)

  4. Nice to see they are so happy?

  5. Alica, your barn is so neat and clean! I think the last smelt something strange and she is suspicious! She is really cute!

  6. I love reading your posts about the cows. I grew up spending a lot of time on my uncle's dairy farm and I miss those days. There were no such things as cushy yellow cow mats back then, but he kept a meticulous barn, with each cow returning to her specific spot everyday, twice a day. Here's hoping you have perfect growing weather!

  7. So wonderful to see the love you have for your cows.....and sweet the one did not want to step on teh " clean" it......let us know if she went for it later. Your barn looks so clean and wonder they are so happy happy !!!!--Merri

  8. What wonderful mats! I always like those free thinkers that would rather do their own thing than go along with the crowd.
    Yay for 280!!
    I am glad you got pictures.

  9. How interesting. How long are the mats supposed to last? I bet the cows appreciate it. How long did the rubber ones last?

  10. I find that really interesting. Because our climate is quite benign our cows are out on grass all year but we have 'stand off' pads for when there's been a lot of rain and they will pug up the ground. It must be a lot of work keeping the barn stalls clean and so good to see comfort is considered as well.

  11. That's really cool about the cow mattresses. Never heard of such a thing. We have the rubber mats in the barn now. I'll have to tell my husband about these!


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