A farmer's wife contacted me with the below observation:

"A few months ago our 185 dairy cows on the dairy farm moved to a new barn equipped with 3 milking robots.

The cows are accepting the milking robots very well with an average of 2.9 milkings per day. 

Nevertheless, my husband and I have the impression that when we walk among the cows in the new barn, the cows are much more nervous and restless. Several advisers have given well-meaning advice, but the problem is still there. We get nervous ourselves, which reflects on our behavior toward the cows."


During my following farm visit, I saw new, bright yellow coveralls with a black company logo on the front and on the back. 

Without having seen a single cow, the problem of " nervous cows" was crystal clear to me. 

People in bright yellow clothing really make cows nervous, especially if these people also make hectic, rapid movements.

The color combination "bright yellow/black" further intensifies the frightening effect on the cattle.

This is related to the perceptive ability of the cows' eye. Cows perceive their environment in a different way than humans do.


If applied correctly, knowledge about the perception of cattle and their reaction to their environment can also be used positively.

For example, when herding the animals in an efficient way. Not only in the barn but also outdoors!

For example, when moving young stock, loading cattle or when the young stock goes out to pasture for the first time.


How often do you get annoyed that your cow does not want to go into the hoof treatment box?

Possible it could be due to ambient factors, and/or the perception of cattle. It will certainly be a contributing factor.


Low Stress Stockmanship: it's the detail that makes the difference for humans as well as for livestock!

During farm visits and seminars/trainings in theory and practice, I show it over and over again.

Especially the practical part is then a real EYE OPENER for both people and animals!  


Source text and photos: Ronald Rongen