Dairy-Go-Round. Cow-asel. Moo-ving Parlor. What?
We like to treat our cows by giving them daily rides on the Dairy-Go-Round.
Wait, what?? Yes! The Dairy-Go-Round, also called a rotolactor or rotary milking parlor, is our state-of-the-art way of milking our cows! If you’ve been on a tour of the dairy, you may have already seen this wonderful machine in action. Ours was built in 2015 as an upgrade to our cow’s already cozy lives!
How does it work? So the cows get on at one end of the circle, which is moving suuuuuper slowly! The cows do this by themselves- the most dominant cows in the herd usually try to get on first, and the rest of the herd follows. The cows like being milked because their udders start to ache if they get too full, so they’re pretty excited to get on the rotary! Once the cow climbs on, there’s a little gray box above her head that scans the tag in her ear using RFID technology! This lets all the herdsman working with the cows know who is being milked (this becomes important later!). Then someone sprays her udder with a super gentle sanitizer that stays on for about 20 seconds. After that, we attach the milking apparatus! It feels like when you put the end of a vacuum hose on your hand but with squishy plastic- it can tickle quite a bit! The herdsman will set up a little metal bar and chain near the cows lower left leg. The cows are trained to know that this lever will turn off their milking apparatus! When they’re finished, they turn it off themselves.
As the cow finishes going around the circle (about seven minutes total!), her udder will be sanitized again, and then moisturized for her comfort. The cows are allowed to step off the rotary, but we pretty frequently get joy riders! This is why scanning the cows as they go around is important- we never want to double milk a cow! We’ll let them go around again because a lot of them enjoy the relaxing, slow motion of the rotary, and some of them like that they can see a lot of their buddies all around them while getting some extra attention! Have questions? Or maybe just think cows are awesome? Come see the Dairy-Go-Round in action yourself by signing up for a tour here!