As a massive fan of cheese of all kinds, I was very happy to find out that Pilgrims Choice have found a way to keep their cows fitter and healthier leading to them producing more milk and better cheese.
They have done this by installing a fleet of custom-built bovine treadmills down at its West Country Vintage Farmhouse producer, Parkham Farms, to give the 1,000 strong herd of cows a daily dose of exercise. This has reduced boredom and has sti-moo-lating their milk production.
The treadmills, which weigh in at almost half a tonne, allow each animal to regulate its own speed, from a brisk walk to a more demanding trot. After a month of daily activity on the treadmills, the cows are collectively producing almost twice the amount of milk than they were before their exercise regime started. A spokesman for Pilgrims Choice said;
“We installed the first treadmill during the freezing weather conditions at the end of last year to ensure our herd received some real exercise. As humans, we all know that a regular fitness regime keeps us healthy, and we wanted to see if this philosophy could be applied to cows, too. This is part of our on-going programme of welfare development.
“We soon found that those cows which had used the treadmill were producing greater milk yields than those who hadn’t. We installed a second treadmill in January and the positive results continued. Now we have 10 custom-built treadmills and the cows use them in rotation.
“Each cow spends an hour on the treadmill. At the head of each treadmill there is a trough for hay and water so the cows can graze at the same time – if they have the energy!.
“Not only have we found that fitter cows produce more milk, but also that the milk is frothier and creamier. As a result, we expect to significantly increase our cheese production in the coming year”.
They intend to do this by expanding its fitness facilities with the installation of a further six treadmills and, potentially, a shallow 25 metre swimming pool. This is fantastic news for all the cheese lovers out there. Well done Pilgrims Choice!