U.S. cows being treated with waterbeds, music, and chiropractors

Cow getting a massage 
By: Debbie Gross 

Lucky, a dairy cow that is seven-years-old, had been walking with a limp for several weeks when vet Sarah Gilbertson was called.

Instead of prescribing painkillers, she tried a new kind of therapy. She performed a chiropractic adjustment that included a full body massage of the spine.

Gilbertson rubbed the backbone of the cow by gently squeezing it from neck to tail, pausing to apply firm pressure on one hip and realign several vertebrae. The cow was standing in silence and moving only to get another bite of hay. Later in the day, Lucky got to recline on a bed of sand. Gilbertson noted with satisfaction how relaxed and comfortable the animal has become.

Cow comfort has become a major concern for farmers in the nation, as it is known for generations that contented cows give more milk. Traditional techniques to keep the cows happy are not complicated, as they include giving them lots of food, maintain proper temperature and give them room to move. However, some dairy farmers are turning to a new range of creative options designed to keep the cows the most productive as possible.

Some farmers have installed waterbeds for their cows to rest on, while others play classical music. Some hire animal chiropractors to give older cows a massage and correct minor problems in calves, all part of the effort to ensure maximum milk production.