An experiment was conducted to determine whether the susceptibility to ruminal acidosis, as defined through differences in days in milk (DIM), milk production level, and ration composition, influences cow feeding, ruminating, and lying behavior and whether these behaviors change during an acute bout of ruminal acidosis. Eight ruminally cannulated cows were assigned to 1 of 2 acidosis risk levels: low risk (LR, mid-lactation cows fed a 60:40 forage:concentrate ratio diet) or high risk (HR, early lactation cows fed a 45:55 forage:concentrate diet). As a result, diets were intentionally confounded with DIM and milk production to represent 2 different acidosis risk scenarios. Cows were exposed to an acidosis challenge in each of three 14-d periods. Each period consisted of 3 baseline days, a feed restriction day (restricting total mixed ration to 50% of ad libitum intake), an acidosis challenge day (1 h meal of 4 kg of ground barley/wheat before allocating the total mixed ration), and a recovery phase. Feeding, rumination, and standing/lying behavior were recorded for 2 baseline days, on the challenge day, and 1 and 4 d after the challenge day for each cow. Across the study, there were no differences in measures of standing, lying, or feeding behavior between the 2 groups of cows. The HR cows did, on average, spend less time ruminating (491 vs. 555 min/d) than the LR cows, resulting in a lesser percentage of observed cows ruminating across the day (44.6 vs. 48.1%). The acidosis challenge resulted in changes in behavior in all cows. Compared with the baseline, feeding time increased on the first day after the challenge (395 vs. 310 min/d), whereas lying time decreased (565 vs. 634 min/d). Rumination time decreased the first day following the challenge (436 min/d) relative to the baseline (533 min/d), but increased the following day (572 min/d). Fewer cows were observed to be ruminating at a given time on the first day following the challenge as compared with the baseline period. Despite this, on a herd level, numerous observations of the proportion of cows ruminating at any one time would need to be taken to accurately detect an acute bout of acidosis using changes in rumination behavior. Overall, these results suggest that risk of acidosis may have little overall effect on general behavior, with the exception of rumination. Furthermore, an acute bout of acidosis alters behavioral patterns of lactating dairy cows, particularly rumination behavior, and identification of these changes in behavior through repeated measurements may assist in the detection of an acidosis event within a herd.
"However, both the MY level (on average 28.9 kg/d in multiparous cows) and RT were lower in the present study than in previous studies. For instance, MY averaged 34.0 and 40.3 kg/d in the experiments of DeVries et al. (2009) and Soriani et al. (2012), respectively. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The main objective of this experiment was to evaluate the use of rumination time (RT) during the peripartum period as a tool for early disease detection. The study was carried out in an experimental freestall barn and involved 23 Italian Friesian cows (9 primiparous and 14 multiparous). The RT was continuously recorded by using an automatic system (Hr-Tag, SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel), and data were summarized in 2-h intervals. Blood samples were collected from 30 d before calving to 42 d in milk (DIM) to assess biochemical indicators related to energy, protein, and mineral metabolism, as well as markers of inflammation and some enzyme activities. The liver functionality index, which includes some negative acute-phase proteins and related parameters (albumin, cholesterol, and bilirubin), was used to evaluate the severity of inflammatory conditions occurring around calving. The cows were retrospectively categorized according to RT observed between 3 and 6 DIM into those with the lowest (L) and highest (H) RT. The average RT before calving (-20 to -2 d) was 479 min/d (range 264 to 599), reached a minimum value at calving (30% of RT before calving), and was nearly stable after 15 DIM (on average 452 min/d). Milk yield in early lactation (on average 26.8 kg/d) was positively correlated with RT (r = 0.33). After calving, compared with H cows, the L cows had higher values of haptoglobin (0.61 and 0.34 g/L at 10 DIM in L and H, respectively) for a longer time, had a greater increase in total bilirubin (9.5 and 5.7 μmol/L at 5 DIM in L and H), had greater reductions of albumin (31.2 and 33.5 g/L at 10 DIM in L and H) and paraoxonase (54 and 76 U/mL at 10 DIM in L and H), and had a slower increase of total cholesterol (2.7 and 3.2 mmol/L at 20 DIM in L and H). Furthermore, a lower average value of liver functionality index was observed in L (-6.97) compared with H (-1.91) cows. These results suggest that severe inflammation around parturition is associated with a slower increase of RT after calving. Furthermore, more than 90% of the cows in the L group had clinical diseases in early lactation compared with 42% of the H cows. Overall, our results demonstrate the utility of monitoring RT around calving, and in particular during the first week of lactation, as a way to identify in a timely fashion those cows at a greater risk of developing a disease in early lactation.
"Conversely, other authors (Walker et al., 2008) observed that lameness did not affect the duration of drinking, grazing, or ruminating. DeVries et al. (2009) induced subacute ruminal acidosis and observed a reduction of RT the fi rst day after the challenge (436 min/d) relative to the baseline (533 min/d) but an increase the next day (572 min/d). According to Siivonen et al. (2011), resting and rumination are promising behaviors to be used as indicators when the health status of a cow is changing. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The main objective of this experiment was to monitor the rumination pattern during the transition period in primiparous (PR) and pluriparous (PL) dairy cows and to investigate its relationships with metabolic conditions, milk yield, and health status. The study was carried out in an experimental free-stall barn and involved 32 Italian Friesian cows (9 PR and 23 PL) during the transition phase. The rumination time (RT) was recorded with an automatic system (HR-Tag), and data were calculated and summarized in 2-h intervals. Blood samples were collected during the transition phase to assess biochemical variables related to energy, protein, and mineral metabolism, as well as markers of inflammatory conditions and some enzyme activity. Daily milk yield, BW, nutritional condition, and health status were also recorded. The average RT before calving (-20 to -6 d) was 463 min/d in PR (range 270 to 620) and 522 min/d in PL (range 411 to 640). In the early lactation [15 to 40 d in milk (DIM)], the average RT was 504 min/d in PR (range 400 to 585) and 562 min/d in PL (range 414 to 685) and was positively correlated with milk yield (r = 0.36; P < 0.001). The RT reached the minimum at calving d (262 min/d in PR and 278 min/d in PL). Before calving the percentage of RT during the nighttime was 60% in PR and 62% in PL, whereas the values decreased after calving (55% in PR and 57% in PL). During the first weeks of lactation, PR showed a shorter RT than PL in the 2-h intervals that included milkings. Cows with reduced RT before calving maintained reduced RT after calving and suffered a greater frequency of disease than cows with greater RT in late pregnancy. Moreover, cows characterized by mild inflammatory conditions and without health disorders or only mild health disorders during the puerperium showed a greater average rumination time (over 520 min/d) during the first 10 d of lactation. Conversely, the decreased RT (450 min/d) during the first few days of lactation was observed in cows with subclinical diseases or health disorders. Cows affected by clinical mastitis during the trial showed a reduction of RT and a change in its variability already some days before the drug treatment. Our results suggest that the automatic measurement of RT is useful to predict calving time and to quickly obtain information on health status of the animals in a period as critical as the transition phase.
"However, effect of stage of lactation on feeding patterns is not consistent through different studies. In freestall-housed cows, DeVries et al. (2003) showed an increase in feeding time of cows from early to peak lactation, whereas no change in feeding behaviors observed over the early part of lactation were found in cows housed in tiestalls (DeVries et al., 2009). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The time that dairy cows spend lying down is an important measure of their welfare, and data loggers can be used to automatically monitor lying time on commercial farms. To determine how the number of days of sampling, parity, stage of lactation, and production level affect lying time, electronic data loggers were used to record lying time for 10 d consecutively, at 3 stages of lactation [early: when cows were at 10-40 d in milk (DIM), mid: 100-140 DIM, late: 200-240 DIM] of 96 Holstein cows in tiestalls (TS) and 127 in freestalls (FS). We calculated daily duration of lying, bout frequency, and mean bout duration. We observed complex interactions between parity and stage of lactation, which differed somewhat between tiestalls and freestalls. First-parity cows had higher bout frequency and shorter lying bouts than older cows but bout frequency decreased and mean bout duration increased as DIM increased. We found that individual cows were not consistent in time spent lying between early and mid lactation (Pearson coefficient, TS: r = 0.1, FS: r = 0.2), whereas cows seemed to be more consistent in time spent lying between mid and late lactation (TS: r = 0.7, FS: r = 0.3). For both TS and FS cows, daily milk production was significantly, but slightly negatively, correlated with lying time across the lactation (range, r: -0.2 to -0.4), whereas parity was slightly to moderately positively correlated with mean bout duration across the lactation (r: +0.2 to +0.6) and negatively with bout frequency (r: -0.2 to -0.5). To estimate how the duration of the time sample affected the estimates of lying time subsets of data subsets consisting of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 d per cow were created, and the relationship between the overall mean (based on 10 d) and the mean of each subset was tested by regression. For both TS and FS, lying time based on 4 d of sampling provided good estimates of the average 10-d estimate (90% of accuracy). Automated monitoring of lying time has potential as a measure of dairy cow welfare on commercial farms but cows differ greatly in lying time. To obtain a representative measure for the herd, it is necessary to sample cows based on their parity and stage of lactation but probably not milk production level.
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