Saturday, June 04, 2011

Indoor Cows..they like it that way

Let me's hot out here!!!!

This study on the preferences of dairy cows showed that during summer months, when offered the choice between going out to graze or staying in a free stall barn with access to a total mixed ration, they stayed in the barn over 91% of the time.

Ours show the same preferences. When it is blazing hot and the fans are running or raining or cold or windy or anything but perfect outside they want to stay in. They look pretty on pasture and grass and exercise are good for them, but they aren't dumb. The like fans, and shelter from the weather just as much as we do. So maybe those free stall cows in their confinement housing are happier than our perceptions when we drive by might make them seem.....


June said...

If they have the choice and choose to be indoors, it's hard to argue that it doesn't make them happier than otherwise.
Lucky cows to have the option!

Jeffro said...

What is that sound I hear? Could it be animal rights activists' heads exploding?

Hamons said...

This is an interesting dilemma that we are often faced with when deciding what is humane for our farm animals. How to balance what its healthier for the animal, the environment, and us.

For instance, cows will choose grain all day instead of grass. Does that mean it is what we should feed them?

How about finding ways got them to stay comfortable in the pasture - such as mobile shade structures?

threecollie said...

June, I was so interested to see this study, because although what we see happening at the farm is obviously not scientific, our observations bring similar conclusions

Jeffo, yeah! I sure hope so!

Hamons, But TMR is emphatically NOT grain all day. Grain is far too expensive to allow cows unlimited access to it. TMR does generally include a certain percentage of high protein concentrate, or grain, because cows need it for optimum nutrition, but also includes a majority proportion of stored forages, including lots of grass. And fermented grass aka haylage, is highly digestible and good for cows. Certainly a lot better than an abrupt transition to lush green grass which will make them sick as heck. Feeding cows, whether on grass pasture, TMR, or almost any other ration, is a complicated balancing act. You are either rotating your pastures and working hard to protect streams and ponds and provide shade, or you are working with a nutritionist and veterinarian to provide optimum nutrition in your TMR. Or you are like us and feeding both rotated pasture grass in summer, with grain in the ensure that vitamin and mineral needs and energy and protein needs are all met every feeding inside the barn all winter when the snow is three feet deep. Thanks for reading and commenting

Jan said...

Yet another animal myth debunked.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am delighted to find your blog through the Florida Cracker comments. I just love cows for some reason. Milk just being one reason. I have been reading back some. FUNNY about your daughter wanting to know if the hair spray works well. I sure got a hold of some hairspray that gave me that "helmet head" feel. It would work wonders for those back ridges. I have noticed that all animals that are pastured look for shade when it is hot and look for shelter when it is necessary. They aren't dumb no matter what some people think. Cheers.

Jeff said...

Your comment to Hamons has to be one of the best explanations of TMR and cattle feeding in general i've seen. Perhaps a subject for FarmSide? Thanks for sharing!

threecollie said...

Jan, if only they would listen. However, the activists don't care what is really right for animals..they just want whatever is hardest and most expensive for farmers. Poor cows

Lisa, I am so glad you did stop by! Thanks! That helmet head type hair spray is just what is needed for show cows' top lines. Believe it or not there are strict show ring rules on just how long that hair can be. Guess people got carried away at one time and had cows that looked as if they were sporting Mohawks. Thanks for being a milk drinker too!

Jeff, thanks so much! I am going to use quotes from the study in a Farm Side about dairy month. FS reaches a very different audience than Northview and I want as many as possible to see the conclusions. Thanks