A Cow by Any Other Name …

Would, let’s be honest, probably still smell like a cow. But researchers have found they want names anyway.

A study published in Anthrozoos from Newcastle University in the UK has found that cows with names produced 3.4 percent more milk than cows who were just treated like a number. That’s about 500 pints more, or about 6,800 gallons more a year for an average sized dairy farm.

The study was conducted by Dr. Catherine Douglas and Dr. Peter Rowlinson and included over 500 dairy farmers. The conclusion was that, “on farms where each cow was called by her name the overall milk yield was higher than on farms where the cattle were herded as a group.”

“Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if they are given a bit more one-to-one attention,” said Douglas.

The study proves what many good farmers have already known: A little bit of attention can improve how animals perceive humans, which in turn positively impacts their welfare and keeps their stress levels low, also resulting in a healthier animal overall.

Happier cows produce less cortisol, a hormone that has been known to cause a decrease in milk production. Less stressed out cows are also easier to milk, making the process much more pleasant for everyone involved.

Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, the National Farmers’ Union chief dairy adviser in Britain said, “Milk production is influenced by diet, breed of cow and age and weather but health and welfare underpins everything.”

Douglas added that their “data suggests that on the whole UK dairy farmers regard their cows as intelligent beings capable of experiencing a range of emotions. Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name can—at no extra cost to the farmer—also significantly increase milk production.”

Cows in Europe, and Canada, are also not subjected to Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) due to concerns about human health and animal welfare.

Apparently happy cows don’t come from California, they come from Britain. Just goes to show a little love, attention and respect goes a long way. 


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Delight S.
Delight S9 years ago

And to Chez, you are right..I actually think my cows smell better than humans! and cows have sweet grass breath! it is the greatest!!!!!

Delight S.
Delight S9 years ago

My cows were blessed by a Hindu priest...yes, I have HOLY cows :) but my cows also have names, and they get hugs and kisses every day! I think they are very happy...of course I don't have any comparison, but I believe my cows are the happiest on earth!!!

Patricia N.
Patricia N9 years ago

My grandparents had a small bush farm in the central part of Ontario, Canada. They had five milking cows from which we got our milk and butter (homemade butter...yummy) and all the cows had names. Also, the horses had names. They were just like pets.

Beba Hojt
beba h9 years ago

We should treat animals like the way we would like to be treated--We would never be so thankless to another human being as we are to animals--When someone does something nice for us we thank them--If an animal does something nice we exploit,torture and eat them!!!sic

Diane Miles
Diane Miles9 years ago

This just proves all animals including cows have feelings. Animals need to be treated with respect, love and not mistreated.

Flor Gonzalez
Flor Gonzalez9 years ago

I love cows! They are very cute!

Eva S.
Eva S9 years ago

We milked 65 head of Holstein cows, they were all named, and we played music in the barn. We were triple A dairy, had high butterfat content, and produced lots of milk. We stroked our cows and talked to them--I believe it makes a huge difference.

Karin Gander
Karin Gander9 years ago

Well, it's nice to read that. I wish American factory farmers would follow suit. I am vegan because of the disgusting ways of the dairy industry, with so many abused and mistreated animsals. Glad to read some good news!