Cow senses and behaviours
Everyone should be trained in basic stockmanship skills. It will help increase work efficiency, reduce stress on cows and people, and also reduce lameness and injuries.
Bringing Cows To The Dairy
Poor cow flow is not usually a problem with the cows, but a problem with the environment. If cows are consistently slow on tracks and races, investigate the cause and correct it.
If cows have their heads raised when they are moved, or in the yard, it’s a sign that too much pressure is being placed on the herd and they are too tightly packed. They will be unable to watch where they place their feet or avoid more dominant cows.
- Movement in groups is best - cows will follow their herd mates.
- Always use patience when herding cows, moving them gently on tracks and through gateways.
- Avoid using dogs unless they are particularly quiet. Leave your dog tied up away from the dairy yard.
- Talk to cows to keep them moving, but don’t frighten them. Use positive interactions such as a stroke, rub, or gentle contact.
- Use separate herds for heifers and older cows, especially on farms with large herds. Although they will form a social hierarchy within their own herds, this will help prevent excessive bullying.
- If the herd stops, do not put pressure on the rear cows. They will not move if the dominant cows in front of them have stopped. Move to the front of the herd and encourage the front cows to continue moving.
- Make rules, for example, people on bikes should not be closer than two fenceposts behind the last cows. Make sure everyone knows the rules.