It’s 2021 and looks like it’s the year of witnessing things that can never be expected. In a recent development, cows can also be trained to poop like other toddlers.
The cows were trained to urinate in a special pen called MooLoo
Researchers in Germany have decided to potty train cows just to save the planet and help the environment to reduce the damage caused by livestock waste. A group of scientists potty-trained cows by using a sweet treat to coax the cows to push through a gate and urinate in a special pen called MooLoo.
The FBN and FLI team of scientists in Germany and the University of Auckland in New Zealand began to potty-train the calves, in a process which is called “MooLoo training.”
The training process
In the first period of training, the cattle were put in a closed latrine. And they were given a reward whenever they urinated on that specific spot. Jan Langbein, the co-author of a study published on 13th September in the journal Current Biology said “It’s usually assumed that cattle are not capable of controlling defecation or urination”.
“Once they were allowed outside, the calves would go in the toilet to get their reward, but they soon learned that there’s only a reward if they urinate.” To learn and encourage calves to use the toilets to urinate, researchers also came up with a deterrent.
“We first used in-ear headphones and we played a very nasty sound whenever they urinated outside,” said Langbein. “We thought this would punish the animals, but they didn’t care. Ultimately, a splash of water worked well as a gentle deterrent.” FBN’s Neele Dirksen, the first author of the study, as cited by CNN.
Every day the calves were trained for 45 minutes. And after 10 days of training, the team had managed to successfully train 11 out of the 16 calves during the experiment.
What were the results of the experiment?
According to the results calves, performance when learning to potty-train is at a similar level to children and even did better than very young children.
The study showed that training the cows to poop is possible, and Langbein said he hoped that “in a few years all cows will go to a toilet.” Regarding this, the study’s senior author Lindsay Matthews, an animal behavioural scientist at New Zealand’s University of Auckland said, “The cows are at least as good as children, aged 2 to 4 years, at least as quick”.
The experiment was done to help the environment from damage
Urine contains nitrogen, and when mixed with faeces becomes ammonia, which is an environmental issue with acid rain and other problems, Matthews said. “It can also taint the water with nitrates and create the airborne pollutant nitrous oxide”, he said.
According to Matthew, cows can produce 66-88 pounds of faeces and about 8 gallons (30 litres) of urine a day. However, their waste into the soil has negative impacts on the environment. When the waste is mixed with soil it is converted into a nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas.
So the ammonia produced from cow waste doesn’t directly contribute to helping the environment, as it is mixed with soil. Hence in a bid to find a solution to this damage to the environment and the planet due to livestock waste, the scientists have made a way of potty-training the cows.