Healthy and productive cows

Optimum cow behavior per day

Stability and regularity are important contributions to the success of a dairy farm. Cows are creatures of habit and perform at their best if every day follows the same format. They need to have their 24-hour day budgeted correctly with hours in the day allocated to certain activities to be the most productive. But what is the optimum cow behavior per day?

According to research by Grant and Albright, optimum cow behavior per day (when living in a freestall barn) has been examined to include:

  • 4-6 hours of eating
  • 9-14 meals
  • 7-10 hours of rumination
  • 12-14 hours of lying down
  • 11 periods of lying down
  • 2.500-3.000 steps

In addition, a cow will spend time drinking, being milked and socially interacting.

Nedap COWcontrol ™ measures the entire 24-hour time budget of a cow to determine her health and wellbeing very precisely:

Nedap Health Monitoring - Cow behavior


Grant, R., Albright, J. 2001. Effect of animal grouping on feeding behaviour and intake of dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science. 84(E. Suppl.):E156-E163.