In every issue of Hoard's Dairyman they have a section labeled Handy Hints. The hints are sent in by the readers and they demonstrate some neat idea they had and then implemented on their farm. The other day on Twitter I mentioned to Hoard's that I thought one of the current hints was not up to their usual high standards. Eventually I was challenged to send in a hint of my own.
I gave this some thought and realized that not all of the ideas we've had and tried on our farm have always turned out as well as we had hoped.
Hair Dryers in the Milking Parlor
Cows, like many other females spend a lot of time grooming, and this may cause them to be late to work, or in their case late for one of their milkings. Why not install beauty salon hair dryers in the parlor and then they would have no reason to be late? Two birds with one stone, right?
Wrong. The cows actually ended up primping more in the parlor and took too long to be milked. The dryers also were not as industrially strong as advertised and had a very short life span.
Starbucks For the Cows
Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up and a little bit of caffeine might go a long ways. We thought some caffeine might stimulate the cows to produce more milk so we opened a tab for them at the local Starbucks coffee house.
The results were mixed as far as milk production goes and we would love to have Dr. Sheila McGuirk, who writes a column in the magazine, to weigh in on it. We ended stopping this particular project due to the expanding cost of the tab the cows were leaving us. We could not afford it anymore.
Dry Erase Boards
We have found that having dry erase boards around on the farm are very handy. This particular one is kept were the cows eat silage and has due dates on it for our pregnant cows. When those cows are eating you can easily reference the board and take any action required.
We also have two in our calf barn to keep track of which calf is in each stable and to leave notes for the next feeding.
Very handy indeed for any size dairy farm and makes it my response to the challenge.