- Move cows slowly at their speed and minimize stress.
- Move cows in groups of no less than ten to minimize stress and animal interactions.
- When required, transport or restrain animals carefully to reduce stress.
- Provide cows regular veterinary care including: periodic checkups, preventative vaccinations and prompt treatment of illness.
- Treat sick cows appropriately. Separate cows from the milking herd until after prescribed withdrawal times.
- Score cows on locomotion. Identify and treat lame cows promptly as prescribed by the herd veterinarian.
- Record body condition score several times during lactation. Identify thin or fat cows and handle them accordingly.
Milking Parlor and Holding Pen
- Plan milking to keep cows no more than an hour in the holding area. Check to see if cows are ruminating, a sign they are comfortable and content.
- Develop the milking routine to minimize stress and fear. Loud noise startles cows, causing erratic behavior.
- Apply pre- and post-dip solutions before and after milking.
- Minimize time in the holding pen, one of the most stressful places on a dairy. Prevent overcrowding; and reduce time standing on concrete without feed and water, as much as possible.
Following the procedures outlined previously can improve cow comfort and well-being.
Source: Texas Dairy Matters