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ICV
ORIGINAL PAPER
 
CC-BY 4.0
 
 

Adaptation of dairy cows to change in a computer-controlled concentrates feeding routine

N. Livshin 1,  
E. Maltz 1,  
 
1
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, 50250 Israel
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2002;11(1):19–37
Publish date: 2002-01-31
KEYWORDS:
ABSTRACT:
Adaptation of cows to a new regime of concentrate allocation via computerised feeders was studied in an Israeli commercial corral-type dairy (about 50 cows in milk). A new fixed-time routine with six equal diurnal feeding cycles was introduced, replacing a long-used former routine with four equal diurnal cycles. The adaptation process was investigated for changes in cows' visit timing and intensity during 1-5-day intervals for 3 months. The daily concentrates allowance was consumed from the first day of change. Within a few days, the cows started to consume newly timed feed portions in the same cycle it became available - with the exception of night hours. However, adaptation of self-feeders visiting behaviour was a prolonged multistage process comprising changes in both visits' timing and intensity. Initially there was spontaneous activity rise, reaching a maximum after 5 d. After 3 months, the mean number of visits to feeders after non-attendance periods from 0.5 to 4 h was 1.5 times greater than under the previous feeding routine - the rise proportional to the increase in diurnal number of feeding cycles. The increase in visits frequency alone, does not explain the cows adaptation to new feeding routine. The adaptation consists of a gradual acquaintance to new timing on one hand and abandoning old visits timing on the other. Stable visiting patterns, including visits timing and intensity, may be the appropriate criterion of cows' adaptation to new feeding environment on top of consuming the daily ration.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
N. Livshin
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, 50250 Israel
ISSN:1230-1388