It's been a while since I've posted on dairy related issues... and since it's thanks to Our Girls that we are able to provide for our family, I think it's high time they took the stage again. Besides, who doesn't like to see more pictures of cows?! :)
Providing a comfortable housing space and environment is vital to the health of our herd, which always reflects upon their overall production. Keeping our cows comfortable helps them focus on what's important - eating, resting and making milk. If they have to worry about something, say their feet and legs, they're much less likely to produce true to their abilities.
Our facilities and travel lanes (pathways) have concrete floors, which makes frequent cleaning and maintenance feasible. Rubber mats are installed in strategic locations throughout the housing facilities and travel lanes, to help keep our cows comfortable. The mats are similar to having a cushioned pad on a tile floor, the softer material gives their feet a break from the concrete.
There are three mats placed behind the feed bunk, or cafeteria, shown above. Two mats are in place to provide support for their front and rear legs while she's eating. A third mat is located just behind her, that can be used to travel back and forth from the feed bunk to the water trough. These mats run the entire length of our barns.
You may notice the concrete space on either side of the travel lane mat above. This space allows for the flush to do its job, and help keep our facilities clean. So you may be wondering if our cows actually chose to walk specifically down that narrow mat, or should we cover the entire travel lane with a mat? That question is easily answered at milking time!
When the cows are led from their pens to the milking parlor at milking time, they may seem to crowd along together, as would be expected by your typical herd animal...
... but low-and-behold, as they round the corner, they form two single file lines, following the mats up to the milk barn! They will do this every time they are led to the milk barn, twice each day.
Even our employees chose to walk on the mats vs. on the concrete in between. A testament to our investment... these suckers really make a difference. Just another example of how we do all we can to care for our cattle. :)