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Influence of Facilities on Cow’s Time Budget

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

Citation:  Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference Proceeding, 16-18 June 2007, (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (Electronic Only)  701P0507e.(doi:10.13031/2013.23117)
Authors:   Joseph P. Harner, John F. Smith, Michael J. Brouck
Keywords:   Keywords: freestalls, facilities, feed line, time budget

Freestall facilities are often overstocked to reduce the facility investment cost per cow or to allow gradually expansion the dairy herd. Overstocking freestalls and feed spaces may reduce the time available for cows to meet their individual time budgets. The objective of this study was to develop a model to evaluate the impact of facilities and time at the milking center on cow time budgets. The model suggests overcrowding by 25 % or more will have a negative impact on normal behavior. Overcrowding results in inadequate time for normal resting and feeding activities. The facility occupancy index is based on the percentage of cows that must be resting and feeding during a given time in a pen. Evaluation of different scenarios indicates the first cows through the parlor have adequate time for resting, feeding, socializing and watering. However, the last cows have inadequate time if they spent two or more hrs per milking at the milk center. Reducing time at the milk center is critical when milking 3X to ensure the last cows have adequate time for normal behavior activities. The model provides practitioners an evaluation tool to determine if the facilities allow cows to exhibit normal behavioral activities while in a pen. The model may be used to evaluate the impact of time at milk center and milking frequency on the cows time budget.

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