Article

Application of pre-partum feeding and social behaviour in predicting risk of developing metritis in crossbred cows

Livestock Production Management, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal 132 001, Haryana, India
Applied Animal Behaviour Science (Impact Factor: 1.5). 03/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.03.014

ABSTRACT The present study reports the pre-partum behaviour of crossbred cows and the behavioural
markers to predict the risk of developing post-partum metritis in this species. Dry pregnant crossbred
cows (n=20) were observed continuously from three weeks before calving till the date of calving using
video cameras. Video recordings were analyzed and multiple observers were used to collect the
behavioural information. General activity patterns of feeding, drinking, lying and inactive standing
behaviour were studied. All the cows were followed up for health status till 21 days post-calving.
Uterine fluid was collected and using a score system the cows were designated as either metritic or
non-metritic (normal cows). Among the 20 experimental cows, eight developed post-partum metritis.
Differences in behavioural alteration between normal and metritic cows were analyzed by Mann-
Whitney rank sum test. A significant difference in pre-partum feeding time and number of feeding
bouts were observed between metritic and normal cows. The feeding time was significantly reduced by
25 min/d (P=0.041) during wk -2 and 40 min/d (P<0.001) during wk -1 in metritic cows compared to
normal cows. Metritic cows had lower number of feeding bouts compared to normal cows (2 bouts/d
during wk -2, P=0.01 and 2 bouts/d during wk -1, P<0.001). The metritic cows showed significantly
higher inactive standing time compared to the normal cows (38.5 min/d, P=0.016 during wk -2 and
89.5 min/d, P<0.001 during wk -1). However, there was no significant difference in lying behaviour
between metritic and normal cows. The metritic cows were socially sub-ordinate during pre-partum
period as they displaced other cows less frequently (15 vs. 18.5 displacements/d, P=0.038) and were
displaced more frequently (19 vs. 15.5 displacements/d, P=0.025) by others. Taken together, it may be
concluded from the results of present study that feeding time and feeding related displacements during
the week preceding calving can accurately be used to predict the risk of developing post-partum
metritis in crossbred cows.

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Sep 25, 2014