Choosing the right bedding for your cows is important. In addition to the purchase price, maintenance costs and labor, lying comfort is an important factor. After all, cows rest for 12 to 14 hours a day. This requires a comfortable and dry stall where she can lie down and get up without any problems.
The cow prefers an ambient temperature between -5 and 18 degrees Celsius. When it gets warmer, especially in combination with high humidity, the cow has difficulties dissipating her heat. This can lead to heat stress. Therefore a cool cubicle-surface that supports her dissipating the heat will be a great advantage.
The waterbed is mounted on the concrete floor. In the summer the air temperature in the barn is (too) high, which makes it difficult for the cow to effectively loose her heat. When she is lying on a waterbed, she transfers her heat to the rubber and thus to the water in the waterbed. The concrete subfloor under the waterbed has a temperature of only 4-7 degrees. The heat from the cow transfers through the waterbed to the cold concrete. The cow is less likely to suffer from heat stress and will perform better. Because she rests for a longer time on the cool waterbed, loss of milk yield will be prevented and she stays on par.
There are two types of waterbeds. Single waterbeds consist of one water compartment. Dual waterbeds have a second water compartment, especially for extra knee comfort. The knee compartment is filled proportionally more. When the cow lies down, her knees do not come into contact with the hard concrete surface below. Once resting, the cow ‘floats’ on the water and her weight is evenly distributed. This prevents pressure points and bald and swollen hocks.
The effect of heat transference is only shown to its full advantage when the waterbeds are mounted directly onto the surface. Only the use of a second water compartment as a cushion for extra knee comfort, supports this effect. Alternative materials for knee comfort have an insulating effect, which means that the benefits of the waterbed will not be fully experienced.
Taking into account the bacterial load it is important to keep the cubicles extra clean and dry during warm weather. Water retains its properties and ensures that the waterbed always returns to its original shape. As soon as there are no cows lying or standing on the waterbed, it takes on a convex shape. The advantage of this shape is that fluids, such as urine and any excess milk, run off the waterbed. As a result the waterbed is drier and more hygienic than any other form of cubicle matting without any extra costs of litter and labor. Comfort for the cow and the dairy farmer.
Of course, waterbeds provide comfort for your cows, all year round. Even in winter, the concrete under the waterbeds has a temperature of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius. In winter this is warmer than the air temperature. The cow heats the waterbed with her body heat. Due to the ‘warm’ temperature of the concrete, the heat does not transfer from the waterbed to the concrete floor. The rubber retains the heat for a long time and the water in the waterbeds will not freeze. Even for winter, waterbeds come ‘warmly’ recommended.