A recent Austrian study has shown that stroking a calf on its neck during the first two weeks of its life has a positive impact on future growth and milk production. Rich LaSalle/Image Bank/Getty Images Advertisement Nineteen Holstein calves push their noses over waist-high fences around individual pens. They’re milling about in a red barn the width of a soccer field. It is dinnertime, they’re hungry, and they have just spotted their favorite person — a farmer pulling a green wagon loaded with bottles of warm milk. He lifts the bottles and feeds each in turn, coaxing shy calves and hedging strong ones. As their tails whip and bellies fill, the farmer rubs their necks and backs, affectionately scratching behind an ear or two. A stereo plays classical music in the background, though its mellow tunes are temporarily eclipsed by the ruckus of the meal. In its place, the farmer offers a soothing monologue that settles over the calves’ black and white coats. “When you feed a calf a bottle of milk, and when you rub him on his neck or on his back, it makes him feel so much better,” says Dean Patterson, loading empty bottles back onto his… Read full this story
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