The hypothesis that daily liveweight gain is associated with resting behaviour in heifers was studied. The study was based on 2 experiments conducted on Danish commercial dairy farms with Danish Friesian heifers (300-400 kg) in the winter periods. Group size was 5-6 heifers/pen. Experiment A, with 80 heifers, investigated the effect of different space allowances (1.5 or 3.0 msuperscript 2/heifer on fully slatted floor) and different floor types (fully slatted or with access to bedding). Experiment B, with 70 heifers, investigated the effect of space allowance in the deep bedding area (1.8, 2.7 and 3.6 msuperscript 2 resting area/heifer). Data from experiment A showed a tendency towards a positive correlation between lying periods and daily liveweight gain for heifers housed on fully slatted floor but not when housed with access to bedding. There tended to be a positive correlation between number of lying periods and daily liveweight gain at a low but not at a high space allowance. The data from experiment B showed a tendency towards a positive correlation between lying time and daily weight gain at a low space allowance in the deep bedding area and not at a high space allowance. Among heifers in the pens with access to bedding in experiment A, it was found that 1 particular heifer in each of the 4 pens lay significantly more on the slatted floor and this heifer had an average daily weight gain which was less than the others.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Danish Institute of Animal Science, P.O. Box 39, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.|
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