Everyone needs to have a place where everyone knows their name. I always like it when people use my name when saying hello. Don’t you? It makes me feel like they care enough to remember. I wish I was better at remembering names. I remember faces, and I will probably remember when we met, and what we talked about, but chances are, I don’t remember your name. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, but it does make me feel a little lame.
Anyway, it turns out that cows also feel better when they are given names on the farm and aren’t just another number. I just heard about a study released last January by Newcastle University in the UK that showed a correlation between cows being treated as individuals (having names, getting a little positive one-on-one time with the farmer, etc) and milk production. According to the study, over the 10 month “lactation cycle” for the average dairy cow, those with names produced an average of 454 more pints of milk than those only referred to by the numbered tag in their ear. Pretty amazing! I'm a little concerned about this cow I saw at the LA County Fair. She seems to be the numbered kind. Let's name her Priscilla!
In an article in the Telegraph from January of 2009 60% of British dairy farmers claim to know all the cows in their herd, and 48% of them already kind of knew that happy, emotionally confident cows produce more milk. Dr Catherine Douglas, one of the researchers on the project, pointed out an additional benefit of the study: "Maybe people can be less self conscious and not worry about chatting to their cows." Ha! That’s right – talking to your animals doesn’t make you crazy, it makes you efficient!