A cow’s home is more than walls and rafters.
Dairy cows live in spacious free-stall barns, where they can eat, drink, exercise and sleep wherever and whenever they want. This freedom to move about during the day is key to a cow’s well-being. The utmost thought and care goes into facility design from the roof to the flooring.
Free-stall barns provide shelter from the elements, and the environment is controlled for cow’s safety and comfort. Floors are made with added traction that provides dairy cows the security they need to move about without slipping. Some barns have fans and water misters during hot weather and all have great ventilation year round.
Clean, comfortable bedding is provided for the cows to sleep and lie on. Bedding comes in a variety of forms; sand, wood chips, recycled rubber, waterbeds, air mattresses, compost and paper. Many forms of bedding are by-products and their use reduces the amount of waste in landfills. Barns are cleaned daily or twice daily of manure by flushing or scraping, and the manure goes to a manure storage facility as part of a plan for managing manure.
Cows spend most of their time inside comfortable barns and seasonally at pasture during drier weather. By using barns, farmers can protect their herds from bitter weather and protect the grassy landscape from being stomped on when wet and fragile.