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Anim Biosci > Volume 34(4); 2021 > Article
Animal Behavior and Welfare
Animal Bioscience 2021;34(4): 759-769.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.20.0126    Published online June 3, 2020.
Periparturient stocking density affects lying and ruminating behavior and one-week-calf performance of Holstein cows
Mingming Jiang1,2,3,a  , Gibson Maswayi Alugongo2,a  , Jianxin Xiao2  , Congcong Li4  , Yulin Ma2  , Tingting Li5  , Zhijun Cao2,*  , Dasen Liu1,* 
1College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, China
2College of Animal Science and Technology, State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
3College of Animal Science, Heilongjiang Agriculture Economics Vocational College, Mudanjiang 157041, China
4State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100193, China
5College of Animal Science and Technology, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052, China
Correspondence:  Zhijun Cao, Tel: +86-13810382286, Fax: +86-010-62734080, Email: caozhijun@cau.edu.cn
Dasen Liu, Tel: +86-13945697905, Fax: +86-0451-55190114, Email: dasenliu@neau.edu.cn
Received: 1 March 2020   • Revised: 22 April 2020   • Accepted: 17 May 2020
aThese authors contributed equally to this work.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of stocking density on the behavior, productivity, and metabolism of periparturient Holstein cows as well as calf performance.
A total of 48 periparturient cows were randomly assigned into three groups at 28 days (±3 days) before their expected calving date. The stocking densities of the groups, relative to the standard cubicle and feed bunk number, were i) 80% (13 cows), ii) 100% (16 cows), and iii) 120% (19 cows). Lying and rumination behavior was recorded using electronic data loggers and HR-Tags from d -21 (“d-” means days before calving) until the calving date, d 0. Lying time was assessed to determine the diurnal total hours spent lying per day. Rumination time was averaged in 2 hours interval periods over 24 hours during the experimental period.
Cows in the 80% group spent more time lying and ruminating between d -21 and d -7 and tended to ruminate more between d -14 and d 0. Calcium levels tended to be higher for cows in the 80% group, no other observable differences were found in monitored blood parameters. Moreover, 3.5% fat corrected milk and energy corrected milk yields were higher in 80% group in the first month of lactation. No other observable differences were found in the yield and composition of colostrum and milk in the first 10 months of lactation. The growth and performance of calves in the first week of life was not affected by stocking density of the dams.
We concluded that lower stocking density may increase lying and ruminating behavior of prepartum Holstein cows. However, this did not translate into improved productivity and metabolism.
Keywords: Peripartum Dairy Cow; Stocking Density; Behavior; Productivity; Metabolism
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