Reducing Stress In Your Dairy Cows
Being prey animals, cattle are quite susceptible to stress. Having an ingrained sense of danger in which they keep a safe distance means that any additional stress causes a cow constant tension and can greatly impact their health and productivity.
Dairy cattle that reside on a farm are not commonly exposed to their traditional predators that cause stress, such as coyotes or bobcats. However, stress inflicted by Mother Nature is more common, such as heat stress, and man made factors like poorly laid out milking parlors.
Being a leading manufacturer of milking stalls and equipment for dairy farms around the world, PBI Parlor Systems has vast experience in innovative ways of stress reduction in dairy cows. Mastering this process begins with a look into what stress is afflicting your cattle.
Heat Stress In Cows
Heat stress is common in dairy cows. Heat and humidity rise during summer, and if your milking parlor and cattle barn do not have a means to keep your cattle cool and comfortable, heat stress can do a number on even the most productive dairy cows.
When a dairy cow is suffering from heat stress, their appetite decreases and in turn, their production of milk slows. The impacts of heat stress on cattle can last well into fall, so it is a worthy investment to ensure your cattle drink enough water and have shady areas to rest.
Also, consider that indoor living quarters and milking parlors should provide respite from the heat. Having an adequate ventilation system to circulate air and reduce humidity is extremely helpful in combating heat stress, along with installing a sprinkler system to mist the cows.
Other Stress Factors and Cattle Health
While a dairy cow’s temperature is a sensitive stress-inducer, there are other common stress factors that cattle face throughout their lives. From lactation hormones to an inadequately designed milk parlor, stress can and will affect a cow’s immune system function.
A cow that is calving has a large amount of cortisol in their bodies; a stress hormone that appears in response to the birthing and milk production process. This stress hormone remains in a cow’s system well into lactation, greatly increasing her risk for infection from a lowered immune response.
Man-made stress is an additional factor in a cow’s life. Installing comfortable and efficient milking parlors like those available through PBI Parlor Systems helps, though increasing comfort by way of avoiding overcrowding is even more vital. Overcrowding stresses cattle and lowers their immune response, causing disease to spread quickly.
PBI Parlor Systems
PBI Parlor Systems offers custom fitting options for milking parlors as a way to reduce traditional stress by giving even the biggest dairy cows more room during the milking process. In addition, both parallel and herringbone style milking parlors designed by PBI Parlor Systems provide easy entry and exit for those stubborn and easily stressed cattle.
To explore what PBI Parlor Systems can do for your dairy farm, visit their website and contact their team of experts today!