Itching for Comfort

Cow Brush Sidebar Video
Watch this cow love up on an automated brush. ( Farm Journal Media )

Some cows push and shove to get more feed or more water. Some push to get onto the rotary platform to get milked. Cows at MurphKo Dairy near Eden, Wis. compete for time at the cow brushes. Brian Murphy and his family have 15 brushes installed in two barns on the 1,400-cow dairy. There’s even a brush in each of the heifer pens for bred and just weaned heifers.

“The brushes really help to keep the cows clean, especially this time of year when they are getting rid of their hair coat,” Murphy says. “The cows love to stand and rub against the brushes. It gives them something to rub against other than a stall, railing or something more substantial.”

Average cost of the brushes was around $1,860 each, Murphy says. The investment was worth it, he says, because cows are clean and comfortable. Heifers get accustomed to the brushes after they are weaned and move to a group housing facility on another property. As heifers get older and enter the milking herd, a brush is always available to scratch each animal’s comfort itch. Watch this video of one cow at MurphKo enjoying a good scratch.


Note: This story appears in the April 2018 magazine issue of Dairy Herd Management.