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Cows poop and pee a lot during the day, and if you want to have healthy and environmental surroundings for your cows, you have to clean it up regularly, which takes a lot of time. But what if you could potty train a cow? Wouldn’t that be much easier for you?
You can potty train a cow with different methods, such as the sound of a bell after which you open the gate and leave the animals to the potty area; using a diuretic injection; use of video cameras; and toilet training cattle.
Keep reading our article to find out how these methods work so you can choose the right one for you and your cows.
Can You Potty Train a Cow?
In a day, a cow poops about 10 to 15 times. The hard work that goes into ensuring that the cows’ environment is clean is immense. In addition, a cow will pee an average of 10 times each day. Put these two together and every effort that is directed towards potty training a cow is highly appreciated.
It gets worse especially when the cow does not move around much.
All the waste piles add up pretty fast. It causes some significant side effects on both the health and environmental aspects of the dairy farm. Ammonia and nitrogen gases are released from the waste and they contribute to air pollution.
It also poses a health danger to the cows. They could contract diseases such as mastitis and lameness or develop hoof problems. It also serves as an inconvenience to the farmer.
Each milking session has to be preceded by a thorough cleaning of the dirty and poop-crusted cows. Ensuring the udders are clean before and during milking is the only way of safeguarding the milk from contamination and quality degradation.
But, to get back to the original question, yes you can potty train a cow, and we will show you below different methods for achieving those results.
How Can You Potty Train a Cow?
Barns have been used to reduce the interaction between cattle and their waste. However, the best technique is dependent on the design used to control the animal’s movement and the conditions around their welfare. For best results, cows need to be trained and given enough time to learn how to excrete in a designated area.
A cow has no control over the frequency or number of times they pee or poop. To potty train a cow, you need to teach the animal how to associate a given activity with peeing or pooping. It could be something like the sound of a bell after which you open the gate and leave the animals to the potty area.
A diuretic injection could also get the trick down on your cow. It induces frequency in the urination. The frequency will provide you with multiple training opportunities. After every successful pee or poop session, get the cow a reward! At least appreciate it is an effort on their part and so much progress on your side. Just like humans, animals can use a reward after an achieved target. For the calves, it could be milk at the end of every urinating session and their favorite feed after every poop in the potty area.
After some time under the use of diuretics, it is time to check for your cow’s adaptability. Repeat the same test without injecting the animal with diuretics. The same test is repeated with no diuretics injected to test the adaptability of the cattle. It involves giving a reward to the cattle before they go back to their pen. Say if they can pee for some minutes say 15 after opening gates for them. This training should be done consistently for some days. You may want to introduce an additional test after each successful day. But for each failed test, you will need to go back to training the following day.
Calves should have a control-calf assigned to them to avoid a scenario in which they urinate due to being scared or eager. The controlling calves are not given diuretics though they are kept with the ones being trained. They are put in the same pen as the trained ones but placed between them. They undergo the same treatment as trained calves like getting the same reward and staying in the pens for the same duration. Having control-calves brings out the difference and the success of the used diuretics.
The other method involves the use of video cameras. You need to place the cameras on the pen’s overhead in the ceiling. They should allow you to watch and record consistently on a given number of calves. Each calf should be followed closely by an assigned trainer. The data should be recorded after every training session.
If the cow’s head is in the stall, the record should capture the excretion as done inside the stall. In case the cow is on the move, the recorded data should indicate the initial location at which the peeing or pooping started. The data should also capture whether the cow is in a standing or lying position during each excretion session.
It is now time to use the elimination method. It involves the use of different peeing or pooping sessions and their positions. You will be looking at the position of the tail. Was it lifted or not during the urinating sessions.
If the tail was lifted, what was the position of the cow’s legs? Are there any signs of poop or splashed urine on the floor or splashed urine? From answering these questions during data collection, you can identify key relationships. Such relations include the correlation between pooping and peeing as well as standing or lying down positions. In most cases, calves do not poop while lying down. The frequency at which they get rid of their wastes increases as they wean and continue to grow.
You could also use the cattle toilet potty training method. It involves the udder being massaged in the nerve to provoke the cow to urinate. However, this is still a new invention still in the formative stages.
Toilet training cattle has been done over time with some challenges. Primary challenges have been making cows learn to urinate on concrete. It is uncomfortable for the cow since they have to position their body strategically to avoid coming in contact with splashing urine. The urine effect on the cow’s body causes irritation.
Another technique has been used in the past involving training the cattle with electric shocks. Trainers hanged them some distance above the cows to determine how they respond. The yielded results have proven not to be highly effective.
Getting your cow to pee and poop in the potty is a lot of work. You need to be highly flexible to understand how your animals behave. If one method does not prove successful, it is time to try on the next. At the end of it all, it will be worth every ounce of energy you invest.