Home > Houses and back scratchers make for happy and productive dairy cows

Houses and back scratchers make for happy and productive dairy cows

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As snow engulfs the South Island of New Zealand, many weather-hardened livestock try and seek shelter from the elements.

Snow ploughs are used to pave lines for tractors to follow in order to deliver feed to cattle in these freezing conditions. Cattle wait for the tractor to arrive and then make a mad dash towards the feed before quickly returning to their shelter belts.

This is the norm for most of the cattle on the island, except for those at Studholme in Mackenzie country stuff.co.nz reports.

Described as “five star accommodation,” Studholme is a 350 head bovine residence where cattle can listen to music, eat at their leisure and of course avoid the freezing temperatures outside. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Studholme also offers its residents access to a built-in back scratcher which features two carwash-like brushes that the cows routinely line up for, and each animal has their own 40mm foam mattress.

The farm sits only six meters above sea level and the addition of a concrete floored barn has proven invaluable as the cows no longer turn the farm to sludge.

"This is our third winter housing the cows inside," said owner Daniel Burgess.

(Now we) "can get up in the morning and we know where they are, we're not having to hunt round for them in the mud." 

Not only is the shed proving a safe a comfortable home for Studholme’s herd during winter, it has also seen milk production increase by 20 percent as the cattle no longer have to battle stress inducing climate changes.

Figures from Dairy NZ show the average milk solid production for 2011-12 increased to around 340 and 370 kg per cow, while Studholme’s results are currently sitting at a healthy 480 to 500 kg per animal.

It appears that cow houses might just become a trend in the South Island.

Image credit: Mytchall Bransgrove

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