Cow comfort - Introduction
In this article series you can find out how cow comfort can contribute to your profitability. Cows should behave naturally and stand or lie down easily. Mastitis, sore feet, rubbed necks, and rubbed or swollen hocks can indicate cow comfort problems. In these articles you will find all the basic information about cow comfort based on the behaviour and needs of cows.
Talking about cow comfort involves listening to and understanding numerous opinions on this issue. But what is real cow comfort? How can it be judged? And maybe even more importantly, how can it contribute to profitable dairy farming?
Recently researchers and producers have put more attention on creating a comfortable environment for dairy cows and their replacements. Observation and experience show that cows housed in a comfortable environment produce more milk and generally live healthier, longer lives.
Cows can’t explain what makes them comfortable. But we can observe and measure cow activity, behaviour and environment – then correlate our observations with what appear to be comfortable cows.
The most comfortable milking system in the world can not be efficient if your cows are not comfortable. To help you judge cow comfort on your farm, we are using a DeLaval cow comfort approach to guide you in a structured way through your farm.
These three main criteria can be used to judge cow comfort:
- Animal signs: see, listen and feel the cow and judge whether she is healthy or not. Find more related information in Animal signs.
- Body condition score (BCS): score your cows according to a standardised score method on body fat in relation to lactation stage. Find more related information in Body condition score.
- Locomotion score: score the lameness of your cows according to a standardised scoring method. This will help to identify potential problems before a cow becomes obviously lame. Find more information in Locomotion score.
Checking all three areas gives valuable data on your herd health to help you decide which areas of your dairy operation need to be adjusted or can be improved on. Enhancing cow comfort will improve your bottom line.