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Scientists work to ‘potty train’ cattle
Researchers say the scheme could improve cow welfare and hygiene.
Toilet training could bring welfare and environmental benefits 

Scientists in New Zealand are working on a project to ‘potty train’ cattle, in a bid to improve welfare and reduce environmental impacts.

AgResearch New Zealand began by training eight calves, moving them to a ‘potty stall’ with a remote-controlled feeding station at one end.

Calves were rewarded for urinating or defecating in front of the feeding station. After six weeks and around 60 training sessions, the cows were given free access to the stalls and tested to see if they would use it.

Researchers say the scheme could improve cow welfare and hygiene in dairy sheds, giving farmers greater control over effluent application on pasture. This would offer significant environmental benefits, with reduced nitrogen loss on farms.

Dr Alison Vaughan, who carried out early trial work at the University of British Columbia, is working as a consultant on this project. During a 2017 TED Talk, she said an average cow produces around 15l of urine and 30kg of faeces a day.

“Because of this, barns are often designed to make removing manure easier to keep cows out of manure, but some of these designs and structures can compromise cow comfort and restrict behavioural freedom.”

Data from the recent study will be analysed over the coming months before the findings are published.

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Hill's Vet Nurse Awards 2020 - get your nominations in!

News Story 1
 Hill's Pet Nutrition are reminding all veterinary nurses and veterinary practices to submit their entries for its 'Pet Slimmer of the Year' competition, 'Managing Weight with Excellence Competition' and the 'Senior Support Nurse of the Year Competition'.

The deadline for the 'Senior Support Nurse of the Year' competition closes on 6 September 2020, while the other competitions will remain open until 14 September 2020. All finalists will have the chance to win up to 500 worth of Love to Shop Vouchers.

To see full terms & conditions or to enter the awards click here

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