Associations between kicking and stepping behaviour during milking and response to humans, getting up behaviour as well as clinical health status in loose housed dairy cows were investigated. During a 12-month period behavioural and clinical data from 10 commercial Danish dairy herds were collected including in total 1196 individual cows. Hierarchical log-linear models for contingency tables were applied for an analysis of conditional associations among the included parameters. Results showed a general herd effect on occurrence of stepping and kicking behaviour during milking (P<0.001). In general, stepping during milking was associated positively to daily milk yield (P<0.05). However, low yielding cows showing avoidance behaviour at the clinical examination were also more likely to step during milking. Furthermore, stepping during milking was positively associated to avoidance in a human approach test (P<0.001) as well as occurrence of ticks (P<0.05), and cows with tick lesions that further avoided human approach were most likely to step during milking. Cows with teat lesions were more likely to kick during milking (P<0.001), especially if they did not avoid human approach. The analysis showed no relation between lameness and kicking or stepping behaviour during milking.
|Publication Title||Livestock Production Science|
|Author Address||Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark. Tine.Rousing@agrsci.dk|
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