March 22, 2021 - Researchers Say Happiness Turns Dairy Cows into Cash Cows


Monday, March 22, 2021 - According to a University of Wisconsin initiative, focusing on making dairy cows happier will help them produce more milk.

"I think it's really important that we give them the spa treatment," said Nigel Cook, who has directed the Dairyland Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine since 2010.

Some recommendations he made to decrease stress and increase happiness are:

  • Give her a bigger stall, increase air circulation and provide some shelter to prevent overheating.
  • Pay particular attention to cow comfort. A deep soft bedding of sand creates an environment where cows can rest half the day.
  • Other recommendations include adding sprinklers and feeding cows at the same time — since herd animals prefer to do things together.
  • Regroup cows less around birthing time to decrease stressors associated with establishing a hierarchy.

Some dairymen who have tried this have reported a substantial increase in milk production, cows eating less feed, fewer injuries, and cows stay in the herd longer.

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