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Herding Instinct in Dairy Cows

Herding Instinct in Dairy Cows - Various
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John Dore
Dairy producer
Date: June 18, 2015
Description:

Milking cows in groups at the extremities of the herd, crowd together during the summer dayrime unnecessarily perhaps because of their herding instinct to be as close as possible to the core of the herd

Discussion created on 06/18/2015

I manage a herd of 3000 cows and 3000 followers in the Middle East. One historical issue that I am trying to address is the behavior of milking cows in groups at the extremities of the herd. The problem is most pronounced in Summer day time. Milking cows crowd together in the loose sand and manure bedded sheds at the closest point to the nearest group and in some cases only use only up to 40% of the expensive cooled shaded space allocated to them. This means they generate and lie in congested muckier areas and thereby increase coli counts, increase scc's and clinical mastltis, unnecessarily. This issue has phased present and previous management and many consultants that have visited the farm. This issue affects the 8 sheds at the extremities of the herd by different degrees These sheds are all of different orientation so the aspect of sun, flies are not common factors. The one common factor is that all the sheds are at the extremities of the herd - so my theory is that it is the herding instinct of the cows that makes them want to bunch as close as possible to the core of the overall herd. The cows spread out well at night time so it might be that they cannot see open spaces outside them in the darkness.

Two solutions I am looking at are: 

1- Blind off the end of the sheds and sand yards with sheeting and the feed passage with black plastic strips.
2- Make small enclosures at the unused ends of the houses and place 5 or 6 cows in each after milking to get the rest of the affected groups to spread out towards them.

I am sure other herds have experienced similar issues of this nature, so I am interested to hear ideas and opinions from any quarter.

John Dore
Dairy producer
Hassan Khan Hassan Khan
Mr. Hassan Khan
July 2, 2015
Management is the combination of arts and science to achieve the goals set forth. there is no permanent solution , would change with changing circumstances dear.
Reply
John Dore John Dore
Dairy producer
July 2, 2015
This is an issue to be considered when designing new projects. Outer sheds should be parallel and not perpendicular to the core of the herd.
Reply
July 4, 2015
It sound like flys are making them group had same problem last year in Hungary.
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Ralph Ginsberg Ralph Ginsberg
Animal Husbandry - Udder health & Milk Quality
July 4, 2015
I recommend contacting the man who knows and has taken care of this problem world wide
http://www.cool-cows.com/
Reply
July 4, 2015

Re: Herding Instinct in Dairy Cows
4-7-2015; Sir, your 2 recommendations may be useful, but I recommend that an indept observation and improved commitment by your herds men can do a great magic. And if your farm is automated especially, observe where there is any significant difference in terms of enviromental conditions; It is very likely to know the exact or particular thing to rectify.
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John Dore John Dore
Dairy producer
July 5, 2015
We removed the temporary herd of in calf heifers from the extremity of the shed and very interestingly we found that the cows stayed spread out after two days
Again I posted the latest picture at 1am today on our Facebook page.
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Hassan Khan Hassan Khan
Mr. Hassan Khan
July 8, 2015
Great to hear that....

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prakash kulkarni prakash kulkarni
B. V,Sc & A .H .
August 5, 2015
yes cows have instinct to stay together better solution is to group them according to milk yield
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November 28, 2015
student of Animal and Range science at HUCA,Ethiopia.
Very interesting as i concerned.
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November 28, 2015
student of Animal and Range science at HUCA,Ethiopia.
Very interesting as i concerned.we have to group these cows according to their age,production performance,and breed type.this make easy for manegement.
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