Cow Comfort is a Requirement for Making Milk

Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County, Ohio State University Extension

This past winter, the OSU Extension Dairy Working group hosted a series of webinars looking at facility design and feed access. We recorded two of our three speakers, which are now available on YouTube for viewing at your convenience.

The first recorded speaker was Dr. Katy Proudfoot, OSU Veterinary Preventative Medicine, who presented on improving facilities in the close-up, maturity, and fresh cow areas of the barn. Her presentation has been broken into three sections. The first section is on close-up cows, looking at how feed intake during this period affects future health, if perching or standing more increases the risk of lameness, and if providing pasture during this time affects lameness during lactation.

The second section focuses on maternity pens, stages of calving, how moving a cow to a calving pen at various times affects length of labor, and if a cow prefers to calve with the group or off in a slightly more secluded area.

The last section focuses on fresh cows, looking at what they do after calving, the benefits of a fresh pen, grouping, and how to mitigate stress during this time.

The presentation by Dr. Trevor DeVries at the University of Guelph also was recorded. The first section addresses why we need to consider eating behavior and how it affects dry matter intake, rumen function, nutritional management, and ultimately milk components.

The second session applies your knowledge of eating behavior to management, such as how do we stimulate cows to spend more time eating, improve feed efficiency and milk components, the need for feed consistency, and effects of stocking density on production.