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Idle Science

Can You Potty Train a Cow? 214

sciencehabit writes "Think potty training a child is hard? Try teaching a cow when and where to do its business. The bovines can defecate nine to 16 times daily, creating big hygiene problems on dairy and beef farms. So cueing the animals to go in the right place would be a big help for managing manure. But past techniques—including training cows to respond to mild electric shocks—have proven ineffective or impractical for wide use. To see if they could come up with a better potty prompt, scientists tested a series of stimuli on a dozen Holstein cows. The milkers stood in or walked through a footbath filled with water, for example, or had air or water sprayed on their feet. Alas, '[n]one of our tests reliably stimulated defecation,' the team reports."
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Can You Potty Train a Cow?

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  • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:43AM (#42908181) Journal

    Indeed, dairy cows know when and where their udders are going to get relief and will walk themselves to the milking yard (or stable, or barn, or whatever the fuck those rural types call it).

    There's a footbridge over the M6 motorway just south of Sandbach which will have cows crossing it just after 6am, no farmer/dogs/tractors in sight, because they know it's milking time.

    Perhaps the answer is to use a cork to stop them going until they're in the right place. They clearly respond to the physical relief caused by being emptied.

    (Either that or the pleasure of having their tits squeezed. Hmm. Self-service milking machines positioned over grating?)

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