Stroke Your Calves For Better Weight Gain

Heifers that have a high average daily weight gain produce more milk later in life. So increasing a dairy heifer's weight gain early on is a good thing. Making this happen doesn't have to mean expensive feed. It could be as simple as spending 42 minutes of gently stroking and talking to a calf in its first 2 weeks of life. Those results come to us from researcher Stephanie Lürzel and her colleagues from the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Welfare. Their study included 104 Holstein calves at a commercial dairy farm in eastern Germany. Half the animals were managed as usual. The other half were stroked on the lower neck for three minutes a day for 2 weeks after they were born. Earlier studies had shown that cows especially like being stroked on this spot, and their heart rates even fall when they're stroked there. Ninety days later, the calves that had been stroked weighed 3 to 7% more than the control group. Since cows that gain weight more quickly before weaning produce more milk, the simply act of petting a young heifer could translate into at least 23 gallons more milk per cow. Stroked calves were less afraid of people than the calves that had not had early interactions. But that changed when the calves were disbudded about 32 days after birth. Cauterizing horn buds with a heated iron without anaesthesia is a common procedure at dairy farms. The pain involved made both

All the grazing management tips you need

Subscribe to read this article and over 2,500 more!

Subscribe today!

If you're already a subscriber, log in here.

2 thoughts on “Stroke Your Calves For Better Weight Gain

Comments are closed.

Translate »