Better Milk, It is all in a Name.
By, Uwe Paschen.
Better Milk production, It is all in a name.
Dairy Sheep, Goats and Cows produce better if called by Name, at least according to yet another study on the subject by the Newcastle University that found that naming dairy Animals encourages farmers to treat them as individuals, cutting stress levels and boosting milk yield.
About a two decades ago my mother send me an article from Germany about Dairy sheep, stating that if sheep see happy sheep in the Milk parlour those would produce better then just looking at a blanc white wall. Another study stated that Music and especially Mozart would increase Milk production as well.
Being sceptical by nature and having a great many doubt about those thinks I started to look into it methodically and fund a great partner with the University of Laval in Quebec and Francois Castonguay as well as the University of Guelph and Silvina Fernandez. We divided the Flock up into groups.
The first group (A) was to be exposed to nothing at all other then good nutrition and standard milking. The second Group (B) was to be exposed to Music only and the third (C) group to a wall paper with happy Sheep on it wile milking and finally the fourth group (D) was to be exposed to both, Music and Wall paper picture of happy sheep.
Group A produced over a one-year period an average of 0.5 Liters of milk per day with a mortality rate of 6% and 1.2 lambs per Ewe.
Group B produced over the same period an average of 1.1 Liters of milk per day with a mortality rate of 2.4%. In addition, 1.7 Lambs per Ewe.
Group C produced over the one-year period an average of 0.95 Liters per day with a mortality rate of 3.7% and 1.5 lambs per Ewe.
Group D produced over that same period an average of 1.8 Liters per day with a mortality rate of 2.1% and 1.9 lambs per Ewe.
Each group was made of an average age range of 2,5 Years and 150 Animals per group. The study showed us be on any doubt that Music was the most beneficial and that a combination of both was giving the best results. Now we did always name each of our Dairy Sheep, and we did have a system that helped us class them in age groups as well. All sheep born in 1995 for example would be named with names starting with the letter “U” and 1996 with the letter “V” and so on, until 2000 that starts again with the letter “A”.
Amy send me an article about a study conducted by the Newcastle University and lead by Dr. Douglas that said, that befriending an animal cut its levels of cortisol, a stress hormone known to inhibit milk production.
“'What our study shows is what many good, caring farmers have long since believed,' she added. 'By placing more importance on the individual, we not only improve the animals' welfare and their perception of humans, but also increase milk production.'”
In the dairy industry over all it has always been tradition to name the Dairy animals but not those for consumption, meaning the males Lambs, Calf’s or Kids, nor the Females with bad dispositions for Milking, since those would go into steaks, shops and sausage.
The Dairy animal was always a very valuable domestic animal and treated accordingly with respect and even friendship, since the Farmer and the Animals do interact on a daily base and know each other rather well. To the point that the animal trust the farmer blindly even when in distress such has at Lambing, or Calving time or in a sunder storm even earthquakes the animal would calm down immediately once the Farmer shows up and only the Farmer can have that effect on his own flock or herd.
I did double check though if another study had been done on this subject of name giving and its impact on the Dairy Animal and yes there was another study published at the IDF/FAO international symposium on dairy safety and hygiene Cape Town, on the 5th of March 2004, in South Africa.
Nowadays though in large farm operation with 500 cows or more being milked there is no name giving any longer nor any Music and even less wall paper picture of happy animals. No, nowadays it looks more like the meatrix, see Video. http://www.themeatrix.com/
This lack of respect for animals and bad husbandry is in large part due to us the consumers that support this system and demand cheap food, continually putting more stress on the farmers and forcing them into a production method that are totally inhuman and barbaric.
This to the point that study after study, shows that the food value or rather nutritional value of the food nowadays is not only inferior to what it used to be 40 years ago, but in some cases even no longer existent at all. This to the point that drinking milk today has no nutritional value any longer and you may as well drink water with fat in it. It would be maybe even healthier for you. However, that is another subject all together that was dealt with in a previous post.