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Animal husbandry and human-animal relationships

Heat stress and feeding behaviour of dairy cows in late lactation

By April 10th 2021May 26th, 2021No Comments

Document type : Scientific article published in the Italian Journal of Animal Science

Authors: Mirco Corazzin, Alberto Romanzin, Vinicius Foletto, Carla Fabro, FrancescoDa Borso, Mario Baldini, Stefano Bovolenta, Edi Piasentier

Résumé en anglais (original) : Heat stress is one of the most important problems that dairy cows have to face and the use of cooling systems is becoming more and more important. The first reaction that has the animal to cope with the environmental variations is to modify its behaviour. This study was aimed to investigate the effect of heat stress and a cooling system on the feeding behaviour of Italian Holstein Friesian dairy cows in late lactation. Two experiments were performed. In the first experiment, eight dairy cows were firstly kept 7 d under thermoneutral condition, and then under mild heat stress (temperature humidity index, THI, ranging between 72 and 78) for others 7 d. The second experiment consisted of 8 dairy cows used in a two-period cross-over design where the treatment was the use or not of a sprinkler system for cooling cows under mild heat stress. Cows were equipped with a noseband pressure sensor able to detect rumination and eating time, number of rumination and eating chews, number of rumination boluses and rumination intensity. Heat stress reduced rumination time, number of rumination chews and boluses (p < .05), and tended to reduce the number of eating chews (p < .10). Cooled cows increased rumination and eating time (p < .05), rumination intensity (p < .01), and the number of rumination and eating chews (p < .05). In conclusion, feeding behaviour was deeply influenced even by mild heat stress, which was effectively improved by the use of a sprinkler system.

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From the Italian Journal of animal science website