Your cows are talking to you: Are you listening?

Over here at CowSignals we were thrilled to read this excellent article in the Progressive Dairyman. Dr. Hubert Karreman explains how your cows are tons about what they need. In this article we have added a video presentation on CowSignals, done by Dr. Karreman.

CowSignals can give a dramatic look inside to cow behavior

Here is the full article. Source: Progressive Dairyman.

Without ever speaking English, your cows are telling you tons about what they need.
What if I told you your cows are telling you how to improve milk production? And they always tell the truth. These girls never lie.
CowSignals trains cattle farmers, feed consultants, breeding consultants, barn design consultants, vets and others involved in the dairy industry to improve cattle management through cows’ natural cues. Trainers understand that just by visually observing cows, a dairyman can remove obstacles that may be obstructing optimal milk production.

“It [CowSignals] looks at very familiar things that a person sees day in and day out but has become numb to because they’ve seen it so many times,” Dr. Hubert Karreman, the only CowSignals trainer in the U.S., says.

Dr. Joep Driessen and Dr. Jan Hulsen, Dutch veterinarians and the founders of CowSignals, began training this new program in the spring of 2000. The inspiration for Driessen’s CowSignals stems from his deep passion for cows.

“I love to look at cows when they are laying down in the pasture, chewing and looking around very satisfied and relaxed. I like the sound of fresh grass being torn off when they rip it with their tongues,” Driessen says. “See the herd moving from left to right over the field, following the grazing leader. I try to learn from them to take it easy, look around and relax.”

Karreman did not grow up on a farm but has now spent over half of his life with dairy cows. Before deciding to be a veterinarian, Karreman was herdsman of a few different herds in Holland, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

He believes that since he didn’t grow up on a farm it was important he spent time working on farms to truly understand them.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Karreman began his career as a veterinarian. A colleague from Quebec mentioned the CowSignals book to Karreman as he was finishing his own book, “The Barn Guide to Treating Dairy Cows Naturally.”

Impressed by the training because of his Dutch background and his previous work in Holland, Karreman decided to attend a four-day training in the eastern part of the Netherlands to become a certified trainer.

As a CowSignals trainer, Karreman is invited to speak to groups of people who work closely with cattle. Throughout the hour-and-a-half slide show presentations, Karreman illustrates the multitude of visual cues cows are constantly giving to their caretakers.

Attendees of the workshops leave with a different perspective on how to observe their cattle. Instead of just simply looking at a herd, they are aware of what the signals mean.


One of Karreman’s examples from his CowSignals curriculum perfectly exhibits how the course’s training could improve the viability of a herd. A picture of a herd in a pasture is shown on the screen.

Most of the cows are around a hay bale feeder eating, while one cow is away from the bale, off to the side and looking at the camera.

After the group takes some time to analyze the photo, Karreman asks, “What’s wrong with this photo?”

The farmers realize this photo is illustrating a problem. Since cows are herd animals, they like to be doing things all together and not on their own, including eating.

The farmers can infer that something is wrong with the lone cow and create a solution.

Comments (3)


Thank you Karremans

Hubert Karreman

You're welcome. I hope you become a CowSignals trainer - you will help many cows live better lives!

Renata Bieniek

Hi, thank you so much for sharing it! It is so inspiring and rich yet still easy to digest. Thank you for all info, very practical, very helpful... presented in an interesting, logical, engaging way... and in my so loved American accent, haha, thanks! All the best to you and those who are priviledged to be taught by you.

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