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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 22:16 GMT
Creature comforts for US cows
Standing cows
Some cows wait for a bed to be vacated
Cows across America are receiving the latest in cattle comfort with a special bovine waterbed, a filled rubber mattress which can be used both in the field and in the stall.

Sometimes they'll stand there waiting for a cow to leave so they can get in on the waterbed

Doug Ford
Fisher Farms
The bed, which contains some 65 litres of water, moulds to the shape of the cow's body when it lies down and appears to provide the beast with a more comfortable rest.

"We're real interested in making our cows more comfortable," said John Marshman, a farmer from New York State who has provided most of his herd with a bed each.

"Everybody is trying to pamper their cows these days because anything that makes a cow more comfortable increases her happiness and productivity."

Contended cow

Mr Marshman said that the cows were "initially shocked" by their new beds during a trial run.

The cow floats on its own pocket of water

Relative Products
Cowbed manufacturer
"But once they got used to them they seemed to prefer them. They let us know that they liked them, so we went and got more."

At Fisher Farms in Lenox, cows apparently now wait for a cowbed to be vacated and quickly move in.

"Sometimes, they'll stand there waiting for a cow to leave so they can get in on the waterbed," said Doug Ford, a sales representative for the farm.

The beds, which the manufacturer - Relative Products - says can last up to 20 years, cost nearly $200 each.

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