Cows like a good scratch as much as they like to access fresh feed

Published June 10, 2021, 10:30 AM

by Vina Medenilla

The pleasure of having to scratch an itch is something that not only humans can understand, but cows, too. 

A study by the University of British Columbia reveals that dairy cows love scratching brushes as much as they love getting fresh feed. 

Cows look for trees and other rough surfaces as scratching posts, but when in a barn or cage, they don’t get to properly scratch their skin unless there are scratching brushes. Cows can just step into these brushes and it automatically rolls to scratch their body.  

Researchers said that cows like using this material for around seven minutes per day, but the importance of getting a good scratch remains uncertain. 

A preference test showed that the cattles are willing to push a heavy load to access the brush, the same way that they can remove barriers to acquire fresh feed. 

One of the co-authors of the study said that brushes help the animals relieve stress. Although there is no indication of how cows look when stressed, the researcher said that these brushes do not only help ease the cow’s itch but can also boost their emotional state. Therefore, this must be part of the standard management practice and housing system. 

Another journal stated that giving cows the resources that foster cow coat care is required in some countries like Denmark. Factors like scratching posts or brushes keep the cattle clean, unlike when brushes are not on hand.  

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