JOURNAL ARTICLE

Time of feed delivery affects the feeding and lying patterns of dairy cows

T J Devries, M A G von Keyserlingk
Journal of Dairy Science 2005, 88 (2): 625-31
15653529
The objective of this experiment was to determine whether it is the return from milking or delivery of fresh feed that has the greater effect on the daily patterns of feeding and lying behavior of dairy cattle. Forty-eight lactating Holstein cows were subjected to each of 2 treatments in a 2 x 2 cross-over design replicated over time. The treatments were 1) milking and feed delivery times coinciding and 2) feed delivery 6 h after milking. Cows were milked twice daily at 0500 and 1700 h. An electronic monitoring system was used to measure the time spent at the feed alley. Time-lapse video was used to quantify the lying time and incidence of aggressive displacements of the cows at the feed alley. Cows increased their total daily feeding time by 12.5% when fed 6 h after milking. This change was driven by an 82% increase in feeding time during the first hour immediately following the delivery of fresh feed and a 26% decrease in feeding time during the first hour after milking. The delivery of feed 6 h after milking did not change the daily lying time of the cows, but did decrease the latency to lie down after milking by 20 min. The reduction in feeding time after milking and decreased latency to lie down resulted in a tendency for less aggressive interactions at the feed alley after the cows returned from milking. These results indicate that the delivery of fresh feed has a greater impact on stimulating feeding behavior than does the return from milking and that changes in feeding management can affect both the feeding and lying behavior of dairy cows.

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