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Behavioural and adrenocortical responses of dairy cows toward novel food: effects of food deprivation, milking frequency and energy density in the daily ration

By M. S. Herskin, L. Munksgaard, A. M. Kristensen

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Abstract

Effects of metabolic load and 12 h of food deprivation on the behavioural and physiological responses toward novel food were examined in dairy cows provided with 4 kg of carrots as novel food and observed using video for the initial 10 min. In Experiment I, effects of 12 h of food deprivation were tested using dairy cows provided with 4 kg of carrots as novel food after 0 h versus 12 h of food deprivation (N=22). Food deprivation did not affect the approach-avoidance behaviour toward novel food but led to increased attempts to steal usual food from neighbours (P<0.05) as well as decreased self-grooming (P=0.05). In Experiment II, effects of milking frequency and energy density in the food on behavioural and physiological responses toward novel food were examined in a 2x2 factorial experiment (N=40). The two factors were: (a) milking frequency: milked twice daily (04:30 and 15:30 h) (2) versus three daily milkings (04:30, 12:45 and 21:30 h) (3); and (b) energy density in the food after calving: low (25% concentrates) (L) versus high (75% concentrates) (H). An extra daily milking affected the approach-avoidance behaviour of the cows as shown by reduced time spend away from the novel food (P=0.01) and reduced frequency of sniffing the novel food (P<0.05). Low energy density in the food led to increased time spent away (P=0.07), increased latency to eat novel food (P<0.05), decreased food intake (P=0.09) and a higher proportion of cows performing self grooming (P<0.05). Provision of novel food did not affect the plasma concentration of cortisol sampled at t=0, 10 and 20 min after food provision, and no differences were found between treatments. In conclusion, 12 h of food deprivation did not affect behavioural responses toward novel food in dairy cows, suggesting that this test of behavioural responses toward novelty is rather insensitive toward day-to-day changes in eating motivation. Low energy density in the daily ration and increased milking frequency affected the behavioural, but not the adrenocortical responses toward novelty but there was no evidence for a simple relationship between the energy balance of dairy cows and their responses toward novel food.

Date 2003
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 82
Issue 4
Pages 251-265
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(03)00087-X
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark. mettes.herskin@agrsci.dk
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Blood
  5. Cattle
  6. Cortisol
  7. Dairy animals
  8. Deprivation
  9. Energy
  10. Feed rations
  11. Food intake
  12. Foods
  13. Hydrocortisone
  14. Mammals
  15. milking
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. physical activity
  18. Ruminants
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  1. peer-reviewed