Bizarre it may seem, but a new study has suggested that cows with names can produce more milk than those who are not named.
Researchers at Newcastle University have carried out the study and found that naming cows as well as treating them as individuals can help in increasing their milk production, the ‘Anthrozoos’ journal reported.
Lead researcher Dr Catherine Douglas said: “Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name can significantly increase milk production. Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if given one-to-one attention.
“Many farmers dote on their cows and have long thought that such interaction helps, but it has never really been tested. The statistics were significantly different for those cows with name, there’s nothing else which could explain it.”
In their study involving 516 dairy farmers in Britain, the researchers looked at interaction between people and cows, and found that those animals with names had an average higher milk yield of 258 litres, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.
The study also found milk yield to be lower on farms where cattle were herded as a group. Nearly two thirds – 60 per cent – of UK farmers said they “knew all the cows in the herd” and 48 per cent agreed that positive human contact was more likely to produce cows with a good milking temperament.
Almost 10 per cent said that a fear of humans resulted in a poor milking temperament, the study revealed.
Dr Douglas said: “Our data suggests that on the whole United Kingdom dairy farmers regard their cows as intelligent beings capable of experiencing a range of emotions. May be people can be less selfconscious and not worry about chatting to their cows.”