If a cow falls down and injures a leg, most dairy farmers use a flotation bath to help her recover. Fiscalini Farms in Modesto, Calif., has taken a few extra steps to ensure cow-comfort if a cow requires the use of the flotation bath.
To make the trip from where the cow was injured to the flotation bath as comfortable as possible, Fiscalini Farms uses a sled. The sled touches the ground, so it does not skin up the cow’s knees. The sled was made out of sheet metal and tubing welded together. A thick rubber mat is on top of the sled to keep the cow comfortable. When an animal is being transported with the sled, she is completely immobilized so there is no chance for further injury.
The flotation bath at Fiscalini Farms was built so the tractor or truck hauling the sled can drive right through it. The tank is built out of concrete and equipped with an inlet for water.
The sled and flotation bath are used for any non-ambulatory cow. A cow will rotate in and out of the flotation bath every 12 hours until she can stand on her own.
If Fiscalini Farms were to build the tank over again, it would put the flotation tank inside the hospital pen instead of next to the hospital pen. “I might also make the wider side the drive-through side,” notes Brian Fiscalini, herd manager. The flotation bath measures 5 feet wide x 9 feet long and is 57 inches tall. The cost to build the tank was around $3,500.