What’s in a name? More milk!

Names are important to cows.

So much so, it seems, that they’ll produce more milk, say researchers in Britain.

A study by a research team at Newcastle University has found that cows with names will produce up to 500 pints more milk than those without names.

How did they figure that out?

Researchers asked more than 500 British dairy farmers for their opinions on how humans might influence the productivity, behaviour and welfare of their animals. Almost 50 percent said they call each of their cows by name – and these farmers’ cows were reported to produce almost 260 litres more milk than those who herded their animals as a group.

I grew up on a dairy farm, and it’s true, each of our animals had her own name and identity. In fact, it was usually my job to give them a name when they were born and like any good farmer, could identify them all easily by sight.

But I can’t say that I know whether they were more productive or happier as a result – perhaps this is just another case of us projecting our own needs and wants onto animals?

Or maybe there’s really something to this theory. These researchers in the UK seem to think so. Their findings were published in Anthrozoos, a multidisciplinary journal of the interactions of people and animals.

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