'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 to write Cow Signals - Seasonal grazing: a richly illustrated farmer’s guide on how to interpret the behavior, posture and physical characteristics of groups of cows and individual animals.
When observing cows it is important not to jump to conclusions immediately, but always to ask yourself three questions: What do I see? Why has this happened? What does this mean?
What signals can you get from rumen, gut and body condition? They give you specific information on the feed intake of respectively today, last week and last month.
In seasonal grazing systems cows utilize grass in a simple and low cost way. But this also requires special management. You have to focus on other issues than in farming systems where the cows are housed at least part of the day. Fertility management, feed availability, water supply and cow monitoring are very different. But also herding requires specific skill and special attention has to be given to cow tracks.
If you know what to look for, you can pick up the signals everywhere and any time.