A virtual fence keeps cows within the boundaries of the field. According to research from the University of Tasmania in Australia, they did not experience any adverse effects from this fence. Used in the prototype study of e-shepherd from manufacturer Callaghan.
During the study, the results, published in the journal Milk Science, were compared to a virtual fence electric fence. The cows were given a collar attached to a device that rested on the animal’s neck. Kallagar e-Shepherd works on the basis of GPS. As the cow approaches the virtual fence, an audible signal sounds. If the cow walks further, the animal will receive an electric shock.
Cows quickly become accustomed to the sound signal – they rarely receive electric shock. But where the standard electric fence holds all the cows, an animal sometimes explodes on the virtual fence. However, the researchers are satisfied. The cows stayed in more than 99 percent of the area where the virtual fence was set up. It was also known that animals are still looking for the edge. Even though that boundary was virtual, they ate grass on the edges of the lot. The plot and the grass thus obtained were fully utilized.
The cows were not affected by the virtual fence. Milk production, the time the animals lay and stand, but the content of the stress hormone cortisol in the milk was similar to that of the animals in the control group.
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