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Diatribe: Waterbeds For Cows? Udderly Ridiculous.


Many years ago, I lived in a Baltimore row house for a short time.  In an effort to save some money, a few friends and I rented a recently renovated three-bedroom home in a historic neighborhood.  The first floor contained a kitchen, living room and guest bathroom that we would all share, the second floor had two bedrooms and a large bathroom and the third floor was advertised as a “loft”.  It was quite large but, unfortunately, the only way to get up to it was via a spiral staircase.

It was impossible to move a standard mattress into the space so I, honestly, thought that I was a genius when I decided to haul a waterbed one board at a time, up that dangerous staircase to be assembled and filled from a garden hose pulled in through a window.  Once it was filled we determined that it, probably, was far too heavy for the old rafters and cross-beams to support the weight.  The entire time that I lived there, my roommates went to bed each night wondering if they would wake up wet the next morning.

Eventually, long after I’d moved away, waterbeds became a quaint and uncomfortable remembrance of a time gone by.

Now waterbeds appear to be making a comeback, but not for use as traditional bedroom furniture.  They’re being bought for cows!  A new trend in American cattle-raising is leading some farmers to spend thousands of dollars on “aquatic sleeping arrangements” for their cows.  Apparently, waterbeds reduce sores and infections that cows sometimes get because traditional beds of grass, straw or wood chips trap moisture and grow bacteria.  And, while waterbeds are notoriously uncomfortable for human backs, they are said to be idea for cows’ joints.

Farmers are hopeful that the new bovine sleep systems will not only be environmentally friendly but will also be economical because they won’t need to be replaced or refreshed like traditional bedding.  While the industry claims that it’s too soon to tell if the new arrangements will increase milk production, it’s safe to say that the cows are sleeping more comfortably.  And, as Oregon farmer Ben Van Loon told a local news station, “Happier cows, happier milk”!

Seriously?  Cows have been sleeping on the ground for centuries and we’ve yet to hear one complain.  Sure, we want dairy cows to be treated humanely but I know first-hand just how difficult it can be to get your money’s worth from a waterbed.

Udderly ridiculous.

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From → Diatribes

  1. Okay, you easily win the “Best Blog Post Title for Reader Attention Grabbing” award today, cause as soon as I saw “Waterbeds For Cows? Udderly Ridiculous.” I was like “Stop everything, cause I gotta read this one right now!’ (loved the udderly delightful wordplay too!)

    Waterbeds… My first experience on a waterbed, was in 1978 with my 18 yr old girlfriend who was babysitting one night, and we couldn’t resist getting “intimate” on the waterbed in the house of the couple she was babysitting for, after the three year old was in bed and sound asleep. Yeah, I know… disgusting, but hey, I was only 19 at the time, and I’m sure I’m not the only one here who has done things in my teenage past, that I’d never even think of doing now.

    But this waterbed was not the motionless type, and after she and I started rocking on it, the waterbed rocked and rolled more than a small boat in heavy seas! To the point that all that motion was literally starting to make me seasick and ruin the experience! (karmic payback? lol)

    But waterbeds for cows? Farmers spending thousands of dollars? Economical???

    The harsh reality is that with the massive drought that is now wiping out the corn crop in the Midwest, and also wiping out the grasslands that many cattle feed on, while driving up the price of corn feed for cattle, waterbeds for cows are not only “udderly” ridiculous, they may soon be financially disastrous.

    But hey, sorry for including that bummer of an intrusion of reality here, and I’m glad that you and your roommates sleeping on your massively heavy waterbed, didn’t have a very rude awakening as you went crashing through the floor! And now I’m smiling, because if presented with the same logistical difficulties at the time, I could easily see myself coming up with the same “genius” solution that you did. Lol 😀


    • It was GENIUS! And that old bed was far from “motionless”. There were times, after a bad olive or a poisoned lime at happy hour, that I actually slept on the floor! 😉


      • Lol – I would never argue that it wasn’t “GENIUS!” At least as far as being a very innovative and creative idea to solve a nearly impossible and dangerous problem… But as many engineers have found out the hard way, the devil is in the details. Lol

        And thank you for confirming that I am NOT the only one who suffered from nausea while on a “far from motionless” waterbed! 🙂


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