Altered Feeding Behavior Occurs in Both Primiparous and Multiparous Holsteins During the Periparturient Period
Posted: August 4, 2004
An interesting paper was presented this year at the American Dairy Science Association meeting in St. Louis. The experiment was conducted at Oregon State University by M. DeGroot and P. French. The objectives were to describe changes in feeding behavior during the periparturient period. Twenty-four multiparous and 18 primiparous Holstein cows were group housed and fed individually via Calan® doors for the three weeks before and after parturition. Behind each door was a feed tub that rested on a digital scale. Scales were connected to a computer that collected date, time, and tub weight during feeding bouts.
|Total daily mealtime, min/d||227||130|
|Meal duration, min/d||31||18|
|Meal DMI, kg/meal||1.93||1.21|
|Total daily mealtime, min/d||213||187|
|Meal duration, min/d||27.2||24.2|
|Feeding rate, g DM/min||66.6||95.1|
|Postpartum||Day of Calving
||21 days Postpartum
|Total daily mealtime, min/d||98||251|
|Meal duration, min/d||15||29|
|Feeding rate, g DM/min||112.4||85.5|
Results show that the depression in DMI that occurs around the time of parturition coincides with a decrease in feeding time. Therefore, strategies that increase feeding time during this critical period may be useful in increasing DMI. This study demonstrates that one of these strategies would be to provide adequate bunk space to all cows prior to calving. While another strategy would be to separate first calving heifers from older cows as their eating patterns are quite different and they not only may need more time at the bunk but more space as well.
Gabriella A. Varga , Dairy and Animal Science Extension