Cow comfort in the fresh pen is critical component of a successful transition period. Issues like overcrowding can cause major discomfort for the cows in that pen.
It’s a fine balancing act. On one hand, we want to keep a close watch on fresh cows that may have transition issues, yet we want to move healthy cows into the general population pens to free up this valuable space.
If we move a cow into a general population pen before she has fully recovered, we risk her getting lost in the shuffle and returning to the hospital pen with a potentially irreparable condition. If we move a cow into a general population pen too late, we risk overcrowding the fresh pen and negatively affecting the entire population in it.
Physically inspecting cows is one way to assess their health status. But it subjects the entire pen population to unnecessary stress which could negatively impact cows at this critical point in the lactation as well as requiring a consistent commitment of time and labor.
How do you decide which cows stay and which cows leave without touching them?
Let us introduce you to the “Fresh Cows to Move” report. The report lists those cows that are in good health, assessed by their behavior patterns since calving. In addition to individual behavior analysis, the individual cow is compared to the behaviors of her pen mates. The report lists all the cows that are healthy enough to be moved from the fresh pen to the general population pen.
Fresh Cows to Move report. Circled in green is the total number of animals on this report. Circled in red is the average daily rumination for the cows on the report (in minutes).
This report is typically used on a per need basis. When pen population reaches a pre-determined threshold, this report is consulted.
Fresh pen management is focused on giving cows the best chance for a healthy and productive lactation. Individual cow insight helps achieve the goal more efficiently in a cow-friendly and stress-free way. Decisions are made on the basis of individual cow behavior, not the expected condition of an “average” cow.
Each cow is unique. When we recognize this fact, we treat them according to their individual needs. It’s good for them and it’s good for us!