B.S. Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
M.S. Dairy Management, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D. Animal Behavior, Colorado State University
Waterbeds for cows? Who knew? But as Organic Valleyís animal care specialist, Dr. Wendy Fulwider, will tell you, theyíre great for cows and for the humans who care for them.
"Comfy indoor bedding is as important to cows as it is to humans, because cows lie down for about 12-14 hours a day. The favorite seems to be waterbeds."
When I was doing research at UW-Madison, I noticed that cows would actually fight over the water bedded areas! Iíve seen waterbeds on Organic Valley farms from coast to coast. If farmers canít afford water beds for the whole herd, theyíll buy them for older cows. Itís easier for her to get up and down, and it prolongs her life and quality of life by quite a few years."
"The waterbeds are more sanitary, too, and less labor-intensive for the farmer who doesnít have to clean messy sand or sawdust out of the barn every day. While itís expensive up front, they last for 25 years, so farmers donít have to buy bedding that clogs up manure pits and ruins equipment, like sand and shavings."
Dr. Wendy Fulwider has worked with Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative to outline humane animal treatment standards and policies since 2007. Graduate research on cow comfort at the University of Wisconsinís Arlington Research Station led to her interest in animal behavior and welfare.
Fulwider earned her doctorate under the tutelage of renowned humane livestock treatment animal scientist Temple Grandin. There, her research included a field study of more than 90,000 cows on 113 dairies in five North Central and Northeastern states.
At Organic Valley, Fulwider advises co-op management on animal husbandry at all levels: on the farm, at the plant and in making recommendations for national organic policy. She also works with producers to improve animal well-being through handling, comfortable and appropriate housing and outcome-based audits.
A dairy farmer before pursuing higher education, Fulwider currently practices humane animal treatment on an organic farm. Her areas of expertise include organic animal husbandry, dairy cow comfort, animal behavior, animal welfare, international animal welfare issues, and animal housing.
See the animal care standards for all Organic Valley farmers on our farmer website.