This country has some 9 million dairy cows and they should all have names — Bessie or Elsie, maybe Daisy or Madame Moo Moo. But why?
In 2009, Newcastle University in England studied dairy farm employees and their herds. The university’s agriculture school wanted to know if cows have feelings, emotions and moods, as well as how their human handlers cared for them.
One of the questions in the university survey was, “Do dairy workers name their cows?” And not just “Cow 44801,” but something more personal.
Close to half of the stock managers, 46%, said they had names for their cows — and it was a smart move.
The researchers found a trend. No matter how large the dairy farm or the size of the herd, cows with names produced more milk than unnamed cows.
Scientific American summed it up: “Dairy farmers who reported calling their cows by name got 2,105 gallons out of their cows compared with 2,000 gallons in a ten-month cycle.” That’s nearly 5% more and cow by cow, that can add up.
The researchers have a theory — giving a cow a name and using it is a way to show kindness. It helps if you talk to her more and consider her more of an individual.
The cow becomes less stressed and more likely to produce more milk.
Bonus fact — if you visited the White House from 1910 to 1913, you would have seen a cow on the lawn. President William Howard Taft, of Ohio, had a pet cow which grazed freely. The cow’s name was Pauline Wayne and she was sometimes called Miss Wayne. She was the last presidential cow. The cow before Miss Wayne was Mooley Wooly, but Mooley never produced much milk.