Photo’s: Albert O’Neill, Ireland. He discovered that cows in heat will stand in the foot bath voluntary. Why do you think this is?
Tips from the farmer:
Some more info from Albert on his footbath: "for the bath a copper sulphate solution is used, or, when hoofs start showing signs of cracking, just water. The bath is cleaned out every 2nd or 3rd day. The cows cross the bath after every milking, however it is sited well away from the milking area, because cows like to stand in it for a while. Sometimes they even use it for 20 minutes!
The bath is made from heavy stainless steel sheet metal.
We use copper sulphate or sometimes known as "blue-stone" it works really well but constant use can harden the claws too much causing them to crack. So a minimal amount is used every 2-3 days. If hoofs start to show signs of cracking then we empty the bath and just fill up again with water only. We find it is better to fill with water only rather than stopping bathing for a while because we like the cows to always get used to walking through water 365 days a year.
We use fresh cold water rather than warm water from the plate cooler as we notice active cows on heat like to cool their feet off from the extra walking about. Located in a central loafing area with cow scratching brush nearby the cows are often socializing around this area and cows will stand in it for anything up to 20 minutes at a time.
Because cows like to stand in it for a while the bath needs to be sited well away from the milking parlour exit as it can cause cow traffic problems at milking times.
Best Regards Albert O'Neill"
Update by Albert April 2016
"Here are a couple of photos of the 2nd voluntary footbath I constructed. The big benefit is its simple to fill. Just pull the plug in the drinker mounted on the otherside of the wall to fill it up. Again its the cows on heat that use it the most. Just take out two more cubicles on the crossover"
Our cows’ hooves are the weakest link in their health and welfare. Cows that become lame - even slightly - will eat, drink and lie down less. They will therefore produce less milk and it will be more difficult to get them in calf. Plus they will need additional attention and work on an ongoing basis. Learn how to focus on prevention, so your time won't be consumed by the treatment of lame cows anymore.