Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cow TV

   On our farm we have what we call Cow TV. Calving season is a very busy time and when 130 cows are all expected to have a baby within a two month time period things are happening all the time. With the use of Cow TV we are able to monitor the cows in the calving pen and help any that are having trouble.  Cow TV consists of a surveillance camera in the barn that then sends a picture to our house and then other devices connected to the feed. Our camera is mounted on a rotator so we have a 365 degree view of the calving cows. There is also sound with the monitoring and sometimes the groaning of a cow is the first sign that someone is about to calve.
Surveillance camera mounted on a rotating arm
        There are many benefits to having the camera in the calving pen. First of all it allows more eyes to be watching the cows.  Many days my mom or I are in the house watch cow TV and will alert the men outside that a cow is calving. This allows the men to work on other things on the farm knowing that they will be alerted to any troubles. Another benefit is that cow TV is able to watch the cows in a calm state. When someone is in the barn the cows all stand up and move around and it can be difficult to see if someone is about to calf. The vantage point of the camera on the ceiling is very helpful also. 
Cows in the pen with the surveillance camera above
       Cow TV is on around the clock at this time of year.  My kids enjoy watching the cows and looking for some of the cows they know. There is also a screen by the bed so at night we can check on the barn without even getting out of bed.
Watching cow TV in the house
        We also have the ability to monitor the calving cows while away from the farm. With the use of an app on our phones we are able to see the cows in real time. This provides us with a lot of piece of mind.
        Most of the time cows have calves without any complications so why all this monitoring? We watch the cows because there are always chances of something going wrong. We want to take every precaution to make sure that we have as many healthy calves as possible.
viewing cow TV on a smart phone

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