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Where do cows sleep?

You might wonder where cows sleep on a modern dairy farm (you might have heard them called factory farms too).

On our dairy farm cows sleep in various places.

Some of our cows sleep in freestall barns:

Cows can lay down in their own individual stall and are free to come and go as they please.

The stalls are cleaned daily, leveled several times a week and new bedding added every 2 weeks. Here is a bit more about making the cow beds. The cows who sleep in these barns also have access to outside corrals in the appropriate weather.

Some of our cows and younger heifers sleep in corrals:

The corrals are groomed weekly to keep them soft, smooth and dry.

Our pregnant cows who will be having their baby calves any day sleep on a bedded pack:

The loafing area for our pregnant cows is cleaned and ready to be refilled with almond shells.

The maternity pen for the expectant cows is cleaned every day however we have to completly change the bedding several times a year. First we remove all the old bedding, then add a little sand to cover the dirt and last we add several inches of almond shells.

The pregnant cows are frolicking in their new bedding.

We also have some animals who sleep in the pasture:

The cows who sleep in the pasture sometimes can nearly hide in plain sight.

About raylindairy

Ray is a partner with his parents in Ray-Lin Dairy in Denair, Ca. The operation milks 475 cows and double crops corn & winter forage on 130 of the 240 acres with about 90 acres of pasture. The family also has 1200 ac operation in Klamath Falls OR that raises alfalfa hay, wheat hay, and oat hay. Ray is currently secretary of the Agchat Foundation an entity he helped found whose mission is to empower farmer to use social media. He is currently a on the board of directors of CA Dairy Campaign, Dairy CARES, and is the 2nd Vice-President of Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the National Dairy Board. In addition to his involvement in agricultural organizations’ he is the Chairperson of the Governance Committee at a newly formed charter school his daughter attends, and serves as a director for the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District. Ray and his wife Erica live on the dairy with their two children.


6 thoughts on “Where do cows sleep?

  1. Ray, I appreciate you sharing the life and times of Ray-Lin dairy and especially your passion to educate the public about dairying. Thank you!

    Posted by dawgmorgan | July 6, 2012, 2:12 PM
  2. This is probably a silly city woman question, but don’t almond shells sharp edges? I know I’ve seen pictures of paths through gardens made of almonds shells, but thought they were ground up or something. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    Posted by Linda Crim | July 7, 2012, 9:05 AM
    • You might be thinking of Walnut Shells that are harder than Almond Shells which tend to crumble fairly easily when crushed. Almond shells are also less dense than Walnut Shells and when laid on smooth out easier.

      Posted by raylindairy | July 7, 2012, 9:12 AM
  3. I have a few questions. Maybe I am misunderstanding the process. Are you mixing or layering the sterilized manure from the making the cow’s bed post with almond shells? Do you compost and reuse the almond shells for bedding or compost them in place at all? Have you discovered any good methods for reducing almond shell dust when applying large amounts? Is there anything you have found good to mix or layer the almond shells with other than lime and similar-to-lime products?

    I am sorry for asking so many questions but this blog is one of the more descriptive results when searching for how to use almond shells as bedding.

    Posted by Frank Martin | February 20, 2013, 9:46 PM
    • We compost the solid manure that is separated when we flush the concrete travel lanes. That compost is the either mixed with Almond Shells or applied unmixed to the beds. the best way to reduce the dust from the Almond Shells is by mixing it with the compost. The dust is the worst part of the shells however normally subsides after being applied.

      Posted by raylindairy | February 21, 2013, 6:30 AM


  1. Pingback: Give your cow only some good stuff! | Farmeron - August 13, 2012

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