Monday, September 30, 2013

MooChews – Amazing Dog Toys Made From Upcycled Inflations

Note: Since this post was published, MooChews has changed its name to MooTugs. The name was changed to clear up confusion about the nature of the toys. MooChews/MooTugs are tug-of-war toys, not chew toys. Their new website is (April 2014)

We dairy farmers use inflations for harvesting milk.

cow being milked with milking machine

For you non-farmers, inflations are the rubber tubes that attach to cows' teats when the cow is being milked. Milk from the udder flows through the inflations, into the milking machine (pictured above) and then to the pipeline and bulk tank. Below is what an inflation looks like when it's not installed in a milking machine.

rubber inflation from milking machine

Because inflations must always be in excellent condition, both for the cows' well-being and to ensure food safety, each set of four inflations is used for only a short time before being replaced with a new set. Exactly how long each inflation is used varies with each farm, depending upon how many cows are milked, how many milking machines are used and how the milking machines are cleaned after each milking. On our farm, inflations are changed every three months.

So, what happens to all those used inflations?

Well, if you're one of our kids, you turn them into hoops...

farm girl making hoop from inflations

And necklaces...

farm girl wearing necklace made from inflations

And trains...

farm boy connecting inflations

And snakes.

farm boy making snake with inflations

But, if you're Dan and Cristen Breuer, the ingenious creators of MooChews, you upcycle those used inflations into dog toys, like the one below.

MooChews MooTug dog toy made from upcycled inflations

Even Ozzy thinks it's the most brilliant idea for a dog toy (but wouldn't smile for the camera).

Australian Shepherd farm dog with MooChews MooTug

I first learned about MooChews this spring when Cristen contacted us to ask if we'd be willing to donate our used inflations to MooChews. Of course, since I'm unconditionally obsessed with recycling, I agreed. On most dairy farms, used inflations have no purpose so they are discarded; prior to Cristen's request, ours were thrown away, too.

Now, Cristen and Dan come out to our farm every couple weeks to pick up our used inflations and the used inflations from several other farms. Our milking equipment company collects used inflations from its clients' farms and drops them off here. Dan and Cristen also get inflations from Cristen's family's dairy farm in Colorado and a couple other Minnesota dairy farms.

Before Dan and Cristen turn the inflations into their tug-of-war and fetch toys, they soak, scrub and sanitize the inflations in their home. But even after all that cleaning, the inflations still smell a little bit like dairy farms, which, according to Cristen, makes the MooChews toys irresistible to dogs.

French Bulldog with MooChews MooChucks dog toy
Photo used with permission from MooChews

You can read the whole story behind the invention of these clever dog toys – and the company's contributions to dog rescue charities – by visiting the MooChews website or checking them out on Etsy and Facebook.

And, if you'd like one of the great MooChews toys for the canine in your life, you can get free shipping by entering the code BDDAIRY1 at checkout.

1 comment :

  1. Great job, who is dairy star? I make something similar do you know if patents are involve? I make something similar. I am 74 and was a dairy farmer for many of those years and saw inflations used for gas can spouts, electric fence handles also throwing one for FETCH. farmers have always been very innovative. If you can't get a part their is always baler wire or baler twine.


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