Parlour training your in-calf heifers, have you started yet?
Parlour trainingParlour training should save a lot of headaches during the calving season, as the milking parlour will not be a completely new experience to the heifers. It can take a considerable amount of time, effort and money to get these heifers to the point of going through the parlour so, their introduction should be planned. Some top tips for training heifers to the parlour:
- Ensure all handling of heifers is positive, as poor handling of heifers increases fear of operators;
- If feeding concentrates in the parlour, bring the heifers into the dairy and feed them before calving as this will create a positive association to the dairy;
- Teat spray heifers in the month prior to calving to get them used to the action and sensation and to help reduce mastitis;
- Training gates can be used to restrict heifer movement so it is easier to get them on to the rotary platform for the first time;
- Consider putting a few older cows in with untrained heifers to ‘show them the way’.
One the heifers are comfortable with this, you can then close the front gate and offer the heifers some meal to encourage them to line up correctly.