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Animals 2017, 7(3), 16; doi:10.3390/ani7030016

Dairy Cows Produce Less Milk and Modify Their Behaviour during the Transition between Tie-Stall to Free-Stall

1
Research Institute of Animal Production Nitra, 951 41 Luzianky, Slovakia
2
Faculty of Engineering, Slovak Agriculture University Nitra, 949 01 Nitra, Slovakia
3
Faculty of Agriculture, University of South Bohemia Ceske Budejovice, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rachel A. Grant
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
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Abstract

Transfer of cattle to an unknown barn may result in a reduction in its welfare. Housing and management practices can result in signs of stress that include a long-term suppression of milk efficiency. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of moving cows from the stanchion-stall housing to free-stall housing on their behaviour and production. The Holstein cows were moved into the new facility with free-stall housing from the old barn with stanchion-stall housing. Cows lay down up to ten hours (596.3 ± 282.7 min) after removing. The cows in their second lactation and open cows tended to lie sooner after removing than cows in their first lactation and pregnant cows. The times of total lying and rumination were increasing from the first day to the tenth day after removing (23.76 ± 7.20 kg vs. 30.97 ± 7.26 kg, p < 0.001). Cows produced 23.3% less milk at the first day following the transfer than at the last day prior to moving (p < 0.001). Loss of milk was gradually reduced and maximum production was achieved on the 14th day. The difference was found in milk losses due to the shift between cows on the first and second lactation (p < 0.01). The results of this study suggest that removing from the tie-stall barn with a pipeline milking system into the barn with free-stall housing and a milking parlour caused a decline in the cows’ milk production. However, when the cows are moved to a better environment, they rapidly adapt to the change. View Full-Text
Keywords: dairy cow; milk yield; behaviour; housing; milking dairy cow; milk yield; behaviour; housing; milking
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Broucek, J.; Uhrincat, M.; Mihina, S.; Soch, M.; Mrekajova, A.; Hanus, A. Dairy Cows Produce Less Milk and Modify Their Behaviour during the Transition between Tie-Stall to Free-Stall. Animals 2017, 7, 16.

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