Cow health and welfare

Farmers want to do what’s best for their cows, but in tough times, making decisions that relate to the cows’ health and welfare can be particularly difficult.

Farmers want to ensure that no matter what the situation, they can always be proud of the way they treat their cows.

Taking time to look and being patient

Careful monitoring of the herd at all times is vital to pick up on problems early. When times are tough, it can be easy to forget to check.

This could lead to more stress in the cows, which can increase the risk of them becoming sick or lame. Try to remain calm and patient around the cows at all times.

Making early decisions

The most important aspect of maintaining optimal welfare through tough times is to make early decisions about treatment of sick or injured cows.

If a cow is showing signs of pain, is injured or is sick, the most important step you can take is to act decisively.

Sometimes these decisions can be tough to make, but the most important thing is that a cow is not suffering unnecessarily, or for any prolonged period of time.

Resources available

Body condition scoring handbook

Animal welfare standards and guidelines for cattle

Caring for our cows booklet

Healthy Hooves field guide

Fast Facts online guide to diseases of dairy cattle

How to manage a down cow booklet, wall chart and online videos


Download the 'Cow health and welfare' fact sheet.