Many times producers will tell us that they “don’t like mattresses” because they consistently perform poorly, contributing to hock abrasions, wearing out in five to six years, and need tremendous amounts of additional bedding material.
We tell these folks over and over: Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds are NOT mattresses. Here are the major differences:
The fill base of all manmade flat mattresses on the market are solid rubber, latex, crumb rubber, foam, or fabric. These base materials are then encased in covers made of rubber, latex, or fabric. The construction leads to two major problems: 1) the materials inside the mattress will pack, and 2) the top cover and seams are the weakest point in the system and often tear.
DCC Waterbeds are a vulcanized rubber bladder system. Since they are filled with water, it is impossible for them to ever pack. Also, there is no top cover. The bed itself is guaranteed for 10 years (six years when installed in a tie stall barn).
The ultimate test of a bedding surface’s performance is when the cow is lying. Mattresses may feel soft when the cow is standing on them, but standing is not where you want your cows to be. Cows are most productive and least susceptible to lameness when they are lying down. When cows lie on flat mats, no matter how soft the mat is, the surface she lies on is inflexible. The only thing that moves is her skin, and her skin abrades against the flat mat surface. This rubbing is what causes hock injuries, which leads to discomfort and more standing up.
Again, DCC Waterbeds are totally different. The front pillow cushions the knees as she descends. The rear cushion comforts her hips as she drops to the resting position. As the cow continues her lying bout, up to three hours at a time and 12-14 hours per day, the DCC Waterbed acts much like a specialty hospital bed where a person is confined for long periods. The hospital bed moves with the skin, preventing bedsores. The DCC Waterbed performs the same function. The cows body forces the water to her lighter points, her hocks, knees and udder, her pressure points, and the bed moves with her skin, preventing sores.
Cost and durability
Manmade rubber flat mattresses and DCC Waterbeds can be comparable in terms of up-front costs. However, we tell farmers to take into consideration two things 1) the warranty and 2) the amount of additional bedding you need to keep the mattress comfortable. DCC Waterbeds have a 10-year warranty and need little to no additional bedding material to provide consistent and superior cow comfort.
It is important when reading news articles or research studies that waterbeds of any type are not ever confused with results for mattresses. Data for mattresses cannot be used as data for waterbeds. In one study that compared waterbeds, sand, and mattresses, you can see how much better waterbeds perform compared to mattresses: http://bit.ly/JDS2007.