Happy heifers make milking easier
29 April 2008
The sooner heifers associate milking with a pleasant experience, the sooner they settle into a calm milking pattern. Cattle are creatures of habit so the bottom line is consistency. Training heifers will allow them to adjust to the dairy and make milking easier in those early days.
Heifers take three to seven visits to the dairy before they begin to feel comfortable in this new environment. It takes about two weeks to establish a quiet, reliable response to milking.
CowTime’s Darold Klindworth outlines some ways to train heifers to come into the dairy.
Heifers can be introduced to the yard and dairy a few weeks before calving so they can get to know the physical layout of the dairy and experience walking on concrete. Lead feeding in the shed will encourage them to enter the dairy. After this training some heifers will lead the herd into the dairy rather than hanging at the back of the herd.
Running with the herd
Another approach is to run heifers with the milking herd for a fortnight before they calve so they go through the shed with the milking cows. Some farmers even calve their heifers several weeks before the main herd so they can get used to the dairy before the mature cows are being milked.
For more information refer to the CowTime Guidelines for milk harvesting: Chapter 4 or contact: Darold Klindworth, ph 03-5624-2269 www.cowtime.com.au
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