When genetics and feed regime are taken from the equation, the performance of your cows will depend on their housing environment. Cow comfort is essential. It is difficult to quantify what the net effect of an individual’s facility is having on their margin, but everybody is aware of the dramatic consequences an incident of lameness can have.
Much consideration is given to cow movement, cow flow and drinking points in virtually all buildings new and old, and this consideration needs continue. However, the greatest consideration is being given to cubicle design.
The cubicle structure is just a guide and will act as a guide regardless of shape or form. Its function is effective for extremely short periods in the cow’s routine and has little to do with the overall quality of the environment. It does have a role to play, but this role must be considered in terms of the principles that determine whether the cow’s natural preferences are being met.
Cows must have ease of access and ease of escape. This applies to food, water and her bed.
- The bed should be shock absorbent to cushion the impact from free-fall.
- The bed should have optimal softness to ensure that it closely resembles field conditions. This will encourage the cow to partake in manoeuvres that are normal.
- The bed should have non-slip properties to ensure that the cow has complete confidence when getting up.
- The bed must be a closed cell structure to prevent the harbouring of bacteria, thus providing a hygienic surface.
- Ease of maintenance, cost effectiveness and life span are also valid determining factors.
These are a sample of the principles that govern us at Mayo Cow Comfort when we engage with farmers on their cow housing. They are foremost in our minds when we are manufacturing the Mayo Mattress.
It should be remembered that buildings do not need to be new to create a good environment for your cows.
Mayo Cow Comfort Principles
- Ease of access. Determined by the height and position of the neck rail.
- Shock absorbent bed to cushion impact from free fall- determined by floor cover.
- Optimal softness to ensure that the bed closely resembles field conditions- determined by floor cover.
- Non-slip surface to enable the cow to have complete confidence in getting up. This is determined by floor cover and positioning of correct brisket board type.
- Ease of escape determined by neck rail, cubicle design, passage width & anti-slip property of floor cover.
- Hygienic surface, determined by floor cover.
- Stress reduction in entry and escape given almost 360-degree vision of the cow by removing any perceived trip or hit hazards.
- Ease of maintenance- determined by floor cover.
- Feasibility and cost effectiveness, determined by existing conditions.
- Long lasting quality system determined by all of the above.
To put these principles into practice it is necessary to look at the height of the neck rail and the position of the brisket board, but the most important element is the bed.
The Mayo Mattress provides all the elements needed in a cow mattress for the ultimate in cow comfort.