Cows Deserve Waterbeds, Too

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TIME was one of the first on the waterbed beat, back in 1971, and it’s our moral obligation to continue with the latest news from the front. And how far the simple waterbed has come in its 40 years. The incredibly comfortable, retro-style beds have managed to transcend mere human usage.

A new trend in American cattle-raising is leading some farmers to spend thousands of dollars on aquatic sleeping arrangements for their cows. The underlying theory goes: “Happier cows, happier milk,” as Oregon farmer Ben Van Loon told local news station KGW after purchasing nearly $100,000 in new waterbeds for his cows.

(MORE: Modern Living: Waterbeds: A Rising Tide)

In addition to the obvious fun of plopping down on a waterbed (for any species, to be sure), the accommodations — which measure 48 inches by 80 inches and cost $260 each, according to Van Loon – also reduce sores and infections for the cows. The rubber beds will not trap moisture and grow bacteria like their traditional beds of grass seed or wood chips do. And contrary to the occasional human claim that waterbeds are bad for our backs, they’re apparently ideal for a cow’s joints.

Bovine-exclusive waterbeds are in use across the country after reportedly gaining traction in Minnesota. One cattle-specific company, Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds, has even expanded internationally, with branches in 12 countries and recent pitches to Latin American farmers. And even though the farmers can benefit economically and environmentally, with less of a need to refresh the bedding, the sales pitch seems most glorifying to those who will actually be using the beds.

“Treat every cow like she’s the one,” the company’s website implores.

Van Loon told the Albany New Democratic earlier this month that, although he has been treating many of his 800 cows as though they were each “the one” since the beginning of this year, it is still too early to tell if the sleeping arrangements will lead to an increase in milk production. At least they’re sleeping in udder comfort.

MORE: Mad Cow Disease: How the New Case Was Discovered

5 comments
Aaron Mitchell
Aaron Mitchell

With a title like "Cows Deserve Waterbeds, Too," I was really hoping there might be some actual research on this article. Sand bedding in stalls has been and still is the gold standard for comfort and cleanliness for animals.

Holly Harper
Holly Harper

Oh, and one more thing that you might not know! We're a small family business - sort of like a dairy farm - so one of the reasons that we don't have a ton of research comparing DCC Waterbeds to sand - we can't afford to pay for the $50,000+ price tag of these research studies. Contrary to popular belief, universities don't often study something just out of curiosity. It all goes back to funding. If you can find me a school that will do a peer-reviewed scientific study, we're more than happy to test our mettle against any dairy bedding on the market today! 

Holly Harper
Holly Harper

Aaron, In 2007 an article was published in the Journal of Dairy Science comparing DCC Waterbeds to sand bedding. If you'd like to check it out, visit http://www.dccwaterbeds.com/pr... - it's linked at the bottom of the page. As you're aware, sand bedding is considered the "gold standard" for comfort and cleanliness. DCC Waterbeds compare very, very favorably to sand in terms of cow comfort performance. However, our unique selling feature is that we're not only good for the cow, but we're great for the farmer in terms of long term investment, ongoing maintenance, consistency, and environmental impact. So, maybe sand is the gold standard for cow comfort, but DCC Waterbeds are the diamond standard in dairy management. If you have any more questions, please check out some of our recent testimonials from our news feed, or contact us directly! Thanks for the comment on this article. 

-Holly Harper, Director of Communications, DCC Waterbeds

Mark Cee
Mark Cee

You have got to be fuc*ing with me !       waterbeds for cows ?

whats next ?    scrotum jewels for swine ?    Cats who wear a pussy cover ?

don't we have greater things in this life to worry about, than where cows sleep ?

pathetic......truly  pathetic.....

Brad Holman
Brad Holman

Now this is just stupid *facepalm* I like my beef tender, but not so tender that I don't need a knife. You woulda thought some hindis would do this only for the most sacred of cows.....