Why cow comfort is important
Cow comfort is important for milk production, milk quality, reproduction, and the health of dairy cows. Most producers recognize the value and performance of cow comfort. They also recognize that housing and managing a cow can affect its comfort. In addition to the benefits of improved performance and health, everyone wants their cows comfortable. If we all want comfortable animals, we must think about what that means.
What does “cow comfort” mean?
A comfortable cow has a good quality of life under our care. Comfort is defined as relieving or preventing stress. Cows should be milked to eat, drink water and rest if 10 -15% of the animals in a stable stand 2 hours after feeding, there may be a comfort problem. The bottom line is that cow comfort produces milk.
Some of the critical aspects of cow comfort are Ventilation, lighting, rest area and water.
1. Properly designed, soft and clean rest area.
It should provide comfort, promote cleanliness, and prevent injuries to the cow. In a comfortable environment, cows are for 12-15 hours a day and grow 16 times every 24 hours. Also, during rest, blood flow through the breast is 25% higher. The purpose of the bed is to provide the cow with a comfortable, clean, and dry space. Before renovating a stable, determine if the cows’ comfort or cleanliness problems result from inefficient maintenance or design problems. Often, the first step is to fix what is broken in the existing space.
Ventilation is vital for the well-being of an animal. The purpose of ventilation is to provide clean air evenly so that all animals receive sufficient air quality throughout the stable. The constant air movement improves the total amount of air, removes harmful gases such as ammonia and methane. Animals require a specific ambient temperature to grow and perform properly. If the weather is too hot (summer months), the animal has difficulty excreting heat, sweats, speeds up its respiration and reduces its metabolism.
In the winter months, when the temperature starts and decreases, the animal experiences cold stress. To fight cold stress, cows need to increase their metabolic rate to provide more heat to the body. The climate now represents the environment in which the cows live. The energy, health and performance of animals depend mainly on the direct effects of the climatic environment.
The cow is a sensitive animal that will always be affected by its living conditions and environment. Lighting is an essential ingredient that has a significant effect on the cow’s hormonal balance and well-being. Research has shown that the minimum lighting level should be 150 lux. A 16-hour light (at least 150lux) lighting system followed by 8 hours of darkness (5 lux) produces positive benefits. The use of lighting to increase the length of the day affects the production of melanin. As in humans, the light that strikes the cow’s eye sends a signal to suppress the hormone melatonin release. Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. Light inhibits melatonin production, and darkness accelerates it. In other words, more extended light periods mean less sleep hormone for healthier and more active cows. The lighting regime described above marks long summer days during which the cow is naturally more active, resulting in higher yields and higher food intake.
4. Access to high-quality food
As the genetic potential of dairy cows increases, the demands for a balanced diet are high. Animals depend on two processes: feeding and digestion. Understanding the digestive system can help the producer become more efficient in nutrition, better understand animal health and the problems that may arise.
5. Access to water
Inadequate water supply or low-quality water to cattle can reduce milk production and cause health problems. Water is one of the most essential nutrients needed by animals. The dairy cow has higher water requirements than any other animal. This is because 56 to 76% of her body weight is water, and she needs to replace the large water loss through milk production every day.
Cow comfort is a constant effort to reduce or absorb stress in cows. You do not know everything about how cows are affected by things. So we must continue to observe the behavior of lives, measure performance and analyze this amazing beast.