Call it aerobics for dry cows. Dutch livestock researchers at Wageningen University placed dry cows on a circular treadmill designed for "hot walking" horses.
Cows were exercised twice daily for 45 minutes each time, walking three kilometers (1.8 miles) each day.
The theory was that the exercise might stimulate fat mobilization during the dry period and result in better liver metabolism. While the exercise did not impact milk production following calving, it did positively stimulate fat mobilization and liver metabolism.
The Dutch researchers aren’t recommending dairy farmers put their dry cows on treadmills. But they might separate feed and water at some distance to encourage dry cows to get more exercise.
The study was published in the July issue of Veepromagazine, published by Veepro Holland.