A Guide to The Many Types of Cow Mats
Investing in stable mats for your livestock can play an important role in their wellbeing, and a well cared for cow is a productive cow. Cow mats provide an extra level of protection and traction underneath the hooves of your cows. They also help insulate against hot and cold weather, giving your cows a comfortable place to rest. Let’s explore some of the best reasons to invest in cow mats for your farm, whilst also providing you with some practical tips to purchase the best mats for your needs.
What are cow mats for?
Cow mats provide cushioning and friction underneath the hooves of large animals, which allows them to comfortably walk. Cow mats can be made from either rubber or foam, both of which have antifatigue properties which promote the health and welfare of your livestock. Below, you’ll find the major reasons to invest in cow mats for your farm:
High traction mats reduce lameness and injury
Slippery floors reduce a cow’s ability to lie down, walk, and even get up. A slick floor takes all the confidence out of your cows, which forces them to slow down and consider each step that they take in order to prevent injury. In fact, a slippery floor can actually affect the gait of cows, resulting in them taking short, tentative steps to help protect themselves against falls.
High traction flooring allows even older or cows prone to injury the ability to walk with confidence. Also, if you’ve ever watched a cow lay down, you may have noticed that once they get themselves in position, they drop the last 30 cm onto the ground. That’s a lot of weight and pressure on their bones, joints, and muscles. It can be incredibly risky for injury prone animals to even get themselves up to feed.
What you’ll notice if you invest in cow mats is that your cows feel comfortable to lie down and relax, whilst also having an easier time of walking, stopping, and changing directions while walking.
Are you looking for higher yields from your cattle?
There is a significant connection between a cow’s well-being and their milk yield. In fact, the physical health of your livestock can play a huge role in how much they can produce. Cows that are housed in stables with poor conditions and little comfort can suffer from health effects, like mastitis, which can take time to properly rehabilitate through the use of antibiotics to get them back in the milking parlour. Mastitis alone can be caused by improperly cleaned stalls, which become breeding grounds for bacteria.
By simply placing rubber mats down, you can limit the amount of straw bedding that you place down underneath the cows, as well as provide an easy to clean surface for the cows to bed down on.
Cow mats reduce bedding cost by 25%
One of the major selling points for rubber mats is that it reduces bedding costs by up to 25%, saving you money and cleanup time. Everyone needs a bit of help, especially in this trying financial time. Rubber mats effectively pay for themselves within their lifespan, saving you money on straw and labour costs. The old cliché ‘time is money’ is absolutely true for anything at your farm, including the savings you’ll receive from cow mats.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to clean stall mats, check out this article on tips for how to clean and maintain a cow and horse stall.
Cow mat pricing
Just like any new piece of machinery that you purchase, the price of cow mats should be offset by the benefits that you will see from them: reduction in bedding costs, reduction in veterinarian bills because of injuries, and an increase yield of milk production. After purchasing cow mats, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve taken an active step in protecting your cattle.
Rubber and foam mat sizing
There are some important considerations to keep in mind when purchasing stall mats. The first consideration is the size and price of the mat that you’re purchasing.
Some mats are available in a 1.83 m (6ft) by 1.22 m (4ft) size, like the 17 mm amoebic rubber stable mats. These are ideal for covering sizeable areas, like stable areas or walkways. These mats are made from high quality rubber. If you need to cover a lot of area invest in some 6ft x 4ft mats, as they offer the best price for the square metres covered.
Other mats come in squares of roughly 1 m in size, like the 20 mm dog bone rubber jigsaw tiles which are 1.1 m x 1.1 m. These mats are great to use for dog runs, playgrounds, or any other area where you want to have a cobblestone-like look that is pleasing to the eyes.
We also have smaller mats which come in a rectangle shape, like the 20 mm cow stable jigsaw EVA comfort mats, which are 1.22 m x 0.91 m. These mats are ultrahigh density and are great to use for stable matting, as it provides superior cushioning ability and a unique soft feel. These are great to use as mattresses for older animals and those who have chronic injuries.
Thickness of mats
Determining the thickness of the mat that you can purchase completely depends on the type of animals that you have at your farm. For example, 17 mm thick rubber mats are ideal for larger animals, like cows and horses, whilst 12 m mats are great for smaller animals, like goats, calves, and pigs. In order to extend the life of the mats that you have, try to purchase the suitable thickness that you need.
Density of Foam Mats
Another consideration to keep in mind when purchasing EVA foam mats is the density. Not all foam mats are created equal. Some mats have a higher density, so they’re able to handle higher weights and pressure without tearing. For example, the 20 mm cow stable jigsaw EVA comfort mat is one of the few EVA foam mats that you can use within a stable, as it’s able to accommodate the heavy weights of large livestock.
In contrast,30 mm parlour pit mats are great to use for anti-fatigue flooring for farmhands working within a parlour pit. These mats are only suited for the parlour pits, and work great in there as they have an antibacterial, water resistant outer shell.
The last thing you should consider is the surface texture of the mats that you’re going to purchase. The two main surface textures that rubber mats come in are amoebic and stud dot. Amoebic mats are great to use as they provide enough traction, but dirt and debris will not get stuck in between the raised portions.
A rubber mat with a stud dot surface adds extra traction and is great to use for elderly animals or animals who are injury prone as the individual bubbles provide an additional grip for those animals who need it.
When purchasing mats for your farm, you can’t go wrong with a simple rubber mat, as they are waterproof, durable, and provide traction. Foam mats are also great to use because they add a significant amount of cushion and add to the comfort of your animals. If you have questions about what mats to purchase, or would like to dig a little deeper into the size and thickness of mats available, we have a wonderful customer service team at Stable Mats Ireland that can answer any questions that you have.
Author: David Van Kooten