A four-star resort

Being a dairy cow is hard work. That’s why the farmer provides luxurious four-star accommodation for them. Because the happier the cow, the more milk she produces. Anna and Dean explain exactly what four stars mean.

Keeping it cool

Cows eat 40 to 100 kilos of feed per day and drink 100 to 200 litres of water. That takes a lot of time! A cow has to process all that food into milk, and that works best when she is lying down. That’s why a cow lies for 12 to 14 hours a day! The farmer must make sure that the cows have a nice, comfortable place to lie down for a while. So, the farmer creates a kind of four-star resort! The shed is kept cool with ventilation and sometimes even air conditioning, because cows don’t like high temperatures. If it’s too hot in the shed, cows get stressed from the heat, which they hate. Each shed has nice mattresses to lie on, of course. These can look like a carpet, but some sheds even have water beds for the cows!

A soft surface is also good for the cows’ claws. Cows don’t have shoes fitted like horses do. This is because there isn't as much pressure on their claws, as they lie down and stand on a soft surface a lot.

Out to pasture

Many four-star sheds have their own field where cows can graze and play. When cows spend time here eating the grass, this is called ‘pasturing’ or ‘grazing’. You might have watched the video showing the cows going out to graze for the first time. Cows love getting all that grass and sunshine! You might think that cows prefer being outside in the field whatever the weather. But that’s not true.

Cows don’t like temperatures above 21 degrees Celsius or so. They prefer to be in the shade or in a cool shed. When it’s warm, most cows only go outside in the evening after milking, around 6 p.m. By then, the sun is lower, so it isn’t as hot as in the day. Cows don’t like wind or rain at all. If there is shade in the field, you can be sure cows will find it.

Test your knowledge

Sometimes, when you’re giving a presentation, you might need to ask the audience questions. Why not test your own knowledge here? You could use them in your presentation