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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 192-195 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11621)
Authors:   M.J. Brouk, J.F. Smith, and J.P. Harner
Keywords:   dairy equipment, facilities, cow comfort

Two hundred sixteen mid-lactation Holstein cows (110 primiparous and 106 multiparous) were blocked by lactation, days-in-milk and production and allotted to two 108 cow 2-row freestall barns. Both barns were equipped with similar equipment and heat stress abatement systems. A switchback design with two 4-week periods was utilized to evaluate the effects of headlocks upon feed intake and milk production. Feed barrier treatments were either standard headlocks (H) or post and rail (P&R). Treatments were physically switched between barns at the beginning of the second period. Cows were milked 3x and milk production data were captured electronically every milking throughout the trial. Amounts fed and refused were measured and recorded daily. Dry matter content of the diets and refusals were determined twice each week and averaged. Daily milk production data were averaged week and lactation number within each pen. Dry matter intake data were averaged by week and pen. Milk production (35.2 vs 34.7 kg/c/d respectively for H and P&R) was not affected (P>.05) by type of feed barrier. Primiparous cattle averaged 34.6 kg/c/d when exposed to H versus 34.3 kg/c/d when exposed to P&R. Multiparous cattle averaged 35.7 kg/c/d when exposed to H versus 35.2 kg/c/d when exposed to P&R. While primipaous cattle produced less (P<.01) milk than multiparious cattle milk production of neither group was affected (P>.05) by treatment. Pen dry matter intakes were also unaffected (P>.05) by treatment (22.8 vs 23.5 kg/c/d). The used of headlocks did not result in a decrease in feed intake or milk production of cattle previously exposed to headlocks. Results of this study showed that removal of headlocks did not improve intake or milk production of trained cattle.

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