Cow Hygiene Score

Cow Hygiene Score

The importance of hygiene with your herd reflects in your milk check. Having strict practices in place for cleaning and herd hygiene means lower SCC (somatic cell count). Bulk milk with lower SCC is rewarded financially from the companies doing the purchasing.

The card below is meant to be a troubleshooting tool that can help identify your herd’s cleanliness. The scoring guide is used to put a numerical value to your operation which can help determine if you fall within the recommended guidelines.

In small herds (<100), all cows must be observed and scored. In bigger herds, it is recommended at least 25% of cows in each pen are scored. Each zone should be scored separately.

Graphic of how to score cows

In addition to periodically scoring your cows’ hygiene, ensure you are following best practices for keeping SCC low.

  • Frequently cleaning manure from alleys.
  • Clean stalls often to remove manure and apply fresh bedding to ensure udders have a clean, dry resting place.
  • Maintaining a good airflow in the barn helps to keep bedding and alleys dry.
  • Practice good hygiene in the milking parlor. Ensure cows’ udders are clean and dry prior to milking. Prevent mastitis with appropriate pre- and post-dips. To prevent the spread of bacteria, wear gloves while milking and do not reuse towels for multiple cows.
  • Do not over milk – it can lead to damaged teat ends, increasing the chance of infection.


“Hygiene Scoring Card.” University of Wisconsin

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