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Effect of feed allowance at pasture on lying behaviour and locomotory ability of dairy cows

By K. O'Driscoll, E. Lewis, E. Kennedy

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In temperate climates where cows are primarily managed at pasture shortages of grass could result in nutritional deficits for the cow and thus pose a challenge to her welfare. This study investigated the effect of daily herbage allowance (DHA) on dairy cow lying behaviour, locomotory ability, and some aspects of hoof health. Ninety-six cows were randomly assigned to one of eight treatments in a 2*4 factorial design; experimental duration (2 week (2 W) or 6 week (6 W)), and nutritional levels (DHA) (60%, 80%, 100% or 120% of intake capacity). Cows were assigned to treatment on 25 March (3616 days in milk). Lying behaviour was recorded using modified voltage dataloggers over 7*24 h periods at approximately 4 d intervals for cows on the 6 W treatments. Locomotory ability (including overall locomotion, ab/adduction, tracking, speed, head carriage and spine curvature scores) was assessed four times at approximately 16 d intervals. Hoof health (heel erosion and dermatitis scores) were recorded in the milking parlour on four occasions at approximately 19 d intervals. Although there was no effect on daily lying time, DHA tended to affect the duration of lying bouts ( P=0.1). Cows allocated the highest DHA (120%) had shorter bouts than all other treatments ( P=0.05), whereas cows allocated the lowest DHA (60%) had fewer lying bouts than all other treatments ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 166
Pages 25-34
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Teagasc, Pig Development Department, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Bovidae
  5. Cattle
  6. Dermatitis
  7. Diseases
  8. Effect
  9. Feed intake
  10. Head
  11. Health
  12. Herbage
  13. Hunger
  14. Lameness
  15. Locomotion
  16. Mammals
  17. Milk and dairy products
  18. milking
  19. Nutrition
  20. pastures
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. Ruminants
  23. skin
  24. spine
  25. ungulates
  26. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed