19 December 2007 (240 words)

Throw away the polypipe!

CowTime explains why rushing the cows into the dairy just doesn’t pay.

Cows have a very defined social structure. So what does this mean for your daily routine? Trying to rush into the dairy cows and using the polypipe to encourage cow movement mixes up the cows social structure of the pecking order. Once the crowding constraint has been removed cows will attempt to re-establish their pecking order before entering the dairy. So it actually slows down the whole process. Plus cows become fearful of hits and pushes which makes them difficult to handle.

What to do

Throw away the polypipe and use cows’ the natural instincts to enter the dairy in a calm and ordered manner ready for milk let-down.

Stay in the pit rather than going out into the yard to chase cows into the dairy. Allowing cows to enter the dairy at their own pace is actually faster and less stressful for cows and humans alike.

Don’t confuse the first cows to the dairy as being the most dominant. They may be the leaders but they are not at the top of the pecking order.

When the herd moves from the paddock to the dairy, the most dominant animals tend to be located about in the middle of the group – with the less dominant cows towards the end.

Look out for Go with the Flow CowTime's 2008 Shed Shake-ups running in Victoria and SA in early 2008. 

More information on cow flow can be found in the CowTime Guidelines which can be downloaded for free from the CowTime website.

Media enquiries: Lee-Ann Monks ph 07-5450 0946 or 0419 349 244

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