First, we get all the cows up and move them to the feed side of the barn. Then we scrape off about a half to two-thirds of the mattress, or further up if there is wet material.
Next, Josiah's dad comes in with the skid-steer. It has a special piece of equipment attached called a "woodchuck" that spreads the pasteurized material into the stalls.
After the bedding is in the stall, Grandpa comes along and spreads hydrated lime over the material.
Then he takes a rake and mixes the lime into the pasteurized material. We use lime to dry up moisture in the bedding material from a cow who might be leaking milk or who hits the stall when she goes to the bathroom.
|Working so fast my camera can't keep up|
The finished product:
And the cows are happy and comfy.
Cows like to rub their heads against the bedding rail, so sometimes they end up looking like this.
|Her face is normally all black|
Several times each day, Grandpa also goes through the stalls and scrapes off any wet material and pulls more dry material from the front of the stall so that the next cow will have a dry comfortable bed to sleep on.
And I think that when cows sleep they might really have dreams (or nightmares). One day when I was walking through the barn, I came up to one cow who was completely sprawled out. I was trying to see who she was, so I stepped up on the mattress next to her to see her ears. When I did that she jerked her legs, that made me jump back so that I wouldn't get hit. And she continued to move her legs in a franticly fast motion, like she was running while she was laying down. She was still asleep, and she was flailing around so much that she was throwing the bedding at me. I thought she must have been having a nightmare, so I said "STOP." She finally woke up and looked around sheepishly (or should I say, cowishly), like "what's going on? Nothing happened." That was the first and only time, so far, that I have ever seen a cow behave like that. Cows do the funniest things sometimes.