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Cow Signals

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  • Cow Signals

Cow Signals

Jan Hulsen

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A Practical Guide for Dairy Farm Management

Author(s): Jan Hulsen

About The Book

Cows send out signals continuously about their health, well-being, nutrition, and production. The challenge for the dairy farmer is how to interpret these signals and use them. Dutch vet and cow enthusiast Jan Hulsen has drawn on his expertise and wide experience of cows and dairy farmers to write Cow Signals: a richly illustrated farmer's guide on how to interpret the behaviour, posture and physical characteristics of groups of cows and individual animals.

When observing cows it is important not to jump to conclusions immediately, but instead always to ask yourself three questions: What do I see? Why has this happened? What does this mean? If you know what to look for, you can pick up the signals everywhere and any time. Cow Signals will show you how.

Additional Information

Author Jan Hulsen
Availability In Print
Dimensions 23.5 x 16.8cm
Extent 96 pages
ISBN 978-90-75280-65-4 English
Publication date 2006
Book Type Softcover



1. Don't just look: observe!

  • From large to small
  • Evaluating cow signals
  • Look and compare
  • Risk groups
  • Indicator animals
  • Risk locations
  • Times of rise
  • Not completing intentional movements
  • Unclassified notable observations
  • Anatomy of a cow
  • Risk management
  • Success factors

2. At grass

  • Health, standard values and risks
  • The ultimate grazer
  • Permanent pasture and suckler cows
  • A cow's senses
  • Group behaviour
  • Lying down and getting up
  • Heat (oestrus)
  • Attention to cow comfort
  • Hooves at pasture
  • Locomotion score

3. When housed

  • Use a critical eye
  • Differences between animals
  • Space and social order
  • Risk locations
  • Light and climate
  • Floors
  • Hoof score
  • Other causes of lameness
  • Hoof problems: the consequences
  • The need to lie down
  • Cubicles
  • Looking and understanding
  • Straw yards
  • Cleanliness score

4. While eating and digesting

  • Rumen score: food intake and digestion
  • Dung
  • Dung score A
  • Dung score B
  • Ration preparation
  • Food intake
  • Location of the feed barrier and trough
  • Water
  • Body condition score
  • Condition score chart
  • What does the condition score tell us?
  • Risk groups

5. In the milking parlour

  • Learning to see more
  • Behaviour entering the parlour
  • Behaviour leaving the parlour
  • Peace and quiet during milking
  • Behaviour during milking
  • Cleanliness and hygiene
  • Hocks
  • Hooves
  • Evaluating milk
  • Teat health
  • Teat score
  • Rumen fill

6. Robotic milking

  • Success factors for robotic milking
  • Cow traffic
  • Hoof health
  • Active cows are keen to eat
  • Know thyself
  • Health: how do you assess this?
  • Disease and discomfort: how do you assess this?

7. Heifers and dry cows

  • Universal or farm-specific
  • Growth and development
  • The first days of life
  • Changes
  • Cows learn
  • Rearing young stock
  • Dry period
  • Around calving


Delivery Information

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UK and the Republic of Ireland
All orders weighing up to 2kg are sent by Royal Mail. Orders over 2kg are sent by UK Mail, a trackable service.

Rest of World
All orders weighing up to 2kg are sent by Royal Mail. Orders over 2kg are sent by UK Mail or DHL.

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