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

Citation:  Pp. 296-302 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11635)
Authors:   H. Lopez and M. P. Shipka
Keywords:   Flooring surface, Estrus

The objective of this study was to observe for an association between flooring surface and the onset and expression of estrus as measured by radiotelemetry. Twenty-four primiparous Holstein cows in early lactation were housed in an open, free-stall barn with concrete flooring. Cows were moved to a dirt pen adjacent to the free-stall barn for 3-h periods preceding AM and PM milkings (06:00 and 18:00). Each cow received a radiotelemetric transmitter to record mounting activity. Data were analyzed using chi-square, where the expected onset of estrus occurred randomly throughout the day. The total number of mounts recorded was 147. Eighty-two mounts (55.8%) were recorded during the two time periods of 3 h each, from 03:00 to 06:00 h and from 15:00 to 18:00 h, coinciding with the time when cows were in the dirt pen (÷2 = 74.3; p < 0.0005, 7df) compared to 65 mounts (44.2%) recorded during the remaining 18 h when cows were in the free-stall barn. Seventeen cows (70.8%) received the first mount in the dirt pen (÷2 = 26.9; p < 0.0005, 7df) and within that measure, seven cows (29.2%) received mounts only in the dirt pen. The total number of estrous bouts was 31. The onset of twenty-one estrous bouts (67.8%) occurred when cows were in the dirt pen (÷2 = 31.8; p < 0.0005, 7df) and within that measure, standing activity for eleven bouts (35.5%) was expressed only in the dirt pen. The mean duration of estrus was 5.2 ± 0.9 h. The average number of mounts during estrus was 4.7 ± 0.9 and the mean duration of mounts was 3.2 ± 0.3 s for a total mean mounting duration per estrus of 15.3 ± 2.7 s. Results of the present study indicate that flooring surface is associated with the onset and expression of estrus.

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