A little privacy please?

A new study from the Animal Welfare Program at University of British Columbia has found that dairy cows seek privacy when giving birth. Cows are typically moved to a ‘maternity area’ when they due to calve, but until now there has been little information available about what this area should look like from the cow’s perspective.

Researchers created a pen that allowed cows to choose one of two maternity areas: the first was open and exposed, and the second was a large shelter where cows could find privacy from other cows, noise and people. Cows overwhelmingly chose to calve in the shelter, but only if they gave birth during the daytime when activity in the barn was the highest. If cows calved at night, they chose both areas equally as often. The study suggests that maternity areas should be designed to give some opportunity for cows to ‘hide’ while they are giving birth.

Link to the study on Journal of Animal Science web site (log in required)

Click here to see a video of a cow choosing to calve in the enclosed area

Source: UBC web site