Repeated ruminal acidosis challenges in lactating dairy cows at high and low risk for developing acidosis: feeding, ruminating, and lying behavior.
ABSTRACT 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.
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate whether rumination time (RT) is affected by the onset of calving. The relationship between both feeding time and dry matter intake (DMI) to the onset of calving was also examined. In addition, the correlation between feeding behavior characteristics, described here as RT, feeding time, and DMI, was evaluated. Under test conditions, the feeding behavior of pregnant Holstein cows was recorded from the time when they were moved into calving pens (usually 7 to 5 d prepartum) until the onset of calving. Feeding time and DMI were recorded by automatic feed bins; RT was measured continuously by a measuring halter based on electromyography (DairyCheck; BITSz Engineering GmbH, Zwickau, Germany), which constitutes a new approach regarding feeding behavior detection. Data analysis related to the final 72 h, before the onset of calving, which were divided into twelve 6-h blocks. The last 6 h (one 6-h block) before calving were compared with the 72- to 7-h time frame (11 times 6-h blocks) before calving, which was defined as the reference period. For this time period, feeding behavior data for 17 cows was fully available, which was the precondition for data analysis. In the final 6 h before imminent birth, RT was significantly reduced. During this time, it was found that the mean minimum RT was 69.9 ± 28.5 min/6 h compared with the mean RT of 95.5 ± 30.8 min/6 h in the reference period. The average decrease in RT was 27% (25.6 min/6 h). In addition, feeding time and DMI were significantly reduced. The average decrease in feeding time was 57% (20.8 min/6 h), and in DMI it was 56% (1.9 kg/6 h). High correlation coefficients between feeding behavior characteristics were only found between feeding time and DMI. Values of feeding behavior among cows were characterized by high variability. Recording RT can serve as a useful tool for predicting the timing of birth for dairy cows, but further research is necessary.Journal of Dairy Science 01/2014; · 2.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the variation in severity of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) among lactating dairy cows fed a high-grain diet and to determine factors characterizing animals that are tolerant to high-grain diets. Sixteen ruminally cannulated late-lactating dairy cows (days in milk = 282 ± 33.8; body weight = 601 ± 75.9 kg) were fed a high-grain diet consisting of 35% forage and 65% concentrate mix. After 17 d of diet adaptation, chewing activities were monitored for a 24-h period and ruminal pH was measured every 30 s for 72 h. Acidosis index, defined as the severity of SARA (area of pH <5.8) divided by dry matter intake (DMI), was determined for individual animals to assess the severity of SARA normalized for a feed intake level. Although all cows were fed the same diet, minimum pH values ranged from 5.16 to 6.04, and the acidosis index ranged from 0.0 to 10.9 pH·min/kg of DMI. Six cows with the lowest acidosis index (0.04 ± 0.61 pH·min/kg) and 4 with the highest acidosis index (7.67 ± 0.75 pH·min/kg) were classified as animals that were tolerant and susceptible to the high-grain diet, respectively. Total volatile fatty acid concentration and volatile fatty acid profile were not different between the groups. Susceptible animals sorted against long particles, whereas tolerant animals did not (sorting index = 87.6 vs. 97.9, respectively). However, the tolerant cows had shorter total chewing time (35.8 vs. 45.1 min/kg of DMI). In addition, although DMI, milk yield, and milk component yields did not differ between the groups, milk urea nitrogen concentration was higher for tolerant cows compared with susceptible cows (12.8 vs. 8.6 mg/dL), which is possibly attributed to less organic matter fermentation in the rumen of tolerant cows. These results suggest that a substantial variation exists in the severity of SARA among lactating dairy cows fed the same high-grain diet, and that cows tolerant to the high-grain diet might be characterized by less sorting behavior but less chewing time, and higher milk urea nitrogen concentration.Journal of Dairy Science 01/2014; · 2.57 Impact Factor
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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.Journal of Dairy Science 04/2014; · 2.57 Impact Factor