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Effect of pre-partum habituation to milking routine on behaviour and lactation performance of buffalo heifers

By Annemari Polikarpus, Fabio Napolitano, Fernando Grasso, Rossella Di Palo, Fabio Zicarelli, David Arney, Giuseppe De Rosa

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect pre-partum habituation in the milking parlour on behaviour and lactation performance of buffalo heifers. Sixteen buffalo heifers in late gestation were used for this study. The animals, with an age ranging from 30 to 44 months at the start of the study, were equally allocated into two treatments and balanced for estimated calving date. Eight animals received pre-partum habituation for 10 days before the estimated calving date (group H), while the eight others received no treatment and served as the control (group C). During the pre-partum habituation sessions, group H animals were moved to the milking parlour and left for 10min in the milking stall once each day, where the udder was thoroughly washed with warm water, wiped with a disposable towel and massaged. The behaviours, registered from entrance into the milking stall to exit, were step and kick. After calving milk flow profiles, milk yield and milk quality variables were determined along with behavioural recordings. The H animals during the habituation procedure showed a reduction in the number of steps (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 161
Pages 1-6
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.10.003
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Tags
  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  2. Habituation
  3. milking