Dairy Diary – Keeping Our Cows Clean – Day 6

Krista_Stauffer_Cow_BarnBy Krista Stauffer, dairy farmer and mom from Washington

How do we keep our cows clean? That is a common question when people visit our farm. It takes a lot of work keeping dairy cows clean. Not only does it take a lot of work, but it is also very important. So how do we do it?

Our cows live in a free-stall barn. A free-stall barn has open feed areas, various locations for fresh drinking water and stalls for the cows to rest. There is plenty of room for the cows to move around and come and go as they please, choosing which stall they want to use. You might be surprised to know that some cows prefer the same stall every day. They will even go as far as to push another cow out of the stall.

Each week we haul fresh pine shavings from our local mill to the farm, where we fill the cow stalls. In addition to the new shavings, we clean the barn and stalls on a daily basis. We milk our cows twice a day. While they are being milked, we clean the barn with a tractor. All the manure is removed and transferred into our manure lagoon. The stalls in which the cows rest are all hand-raked. All manure has to be removed and the pine shavings have to be leveled out to keep the area comfortable and clean. So every morning and every night we clean the barn as well as the stalls.

So why do we do this? The cows deserve to live in clean living conditions. Even more importantly, it is better for their health. Cows need to have a dry and clean environment to protect them from illnesses like mastitis, a painful inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue. We try to help them avoid this at all costs by working hard to make sure our cows have the cleanest environment possible. Our lives revolve around these girls because they do so much for our family. We owe them the best life possible while they are on our farm.

Return to Dairy Diary – Day 1


Laurie Jo Eberhardt

Love the positive feed you give people! I grew up and went to school for dairy. The more post like these I can repost the better. I now live in Colorado and volunteer with beef 4-H . No dairys where I live now. Lov and respect all the bovin has given us!

Linda Dionne

I have recently seen some pictures of cows with fistulas in them. They looked dirty and were oozing. What are your thoughts?

Matt Z

Not knowing what context the pictures are taken in does not allow anyone to give their ‘thoughts’ on it. Some cows get sick – even ones very well taken care of.


Linda- A fistulated cow is something that is done mostly at universities so they can study cow’s rumen and develop ways to treat illnesses in cows. This is not something that is common on actual farms. Without seeing the photo you saw, I cannot comment an opinion. Photos are often used out of context for agendas. It could very well have been infected but a photo doesn’t include what the university or individual that owns the cow is doing to take care of it.


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