Dutch Cow Garden is Welfare Revelation

THE NETHERLANDS – A Dutch farmer is making shockwaves in dairy cow welfare by keeping some of his 190 cow herd in a tranquil indoor garden.
calendar icon 23 September 2015
clock icon 1 minute read

Gelderland farmer Chris Boomers is using plants and trees to create a zoo-like, relaxing atmosphere, which can house 70 milking cows.

A springy floor covered by a cloth aims to mimic a meadow, with urine passing through the cloth into a tank below, separating excrement.

The system incorporates biogas production and allows cows to pass in and out of more conventional housed yards.

Modern equipment removes dung and environmental aspects like nitrogen and phosphate are tackled along with animal welfare.

“The cows are happy,” said Mr Boomers. “We have run more than one year of probation and most teething problems have been overcome.”

Innovative group Foundation Courage, involved in the garden construction said other farmers are interested.

“In Friesland, a farmer with 400 cows wishes to build a similar cattle yard for his 400 cows,” said Foundation Courage programme director, Carel de Vries.

“Price per cow is not higher than a conventional barn.”

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