ONE YEAR STUDY OF LYING AND STANDING BEHAVIOUR OF DAIRY COWS IN A FRESTALL BARN IN ITALY
AbstractDairy farm buildings can have, as it is well known, a big influence on the microclimatic conditions in the cowshed. In order to examine the influence of environmental parameters on the conditions affecting animal welfare, an experimental programme was set up at a farm where anomalous behaviour of cows had been previously noted. The research was carried out in a freestall barn from June 2004 till June 2005. Part of the research involved a detailed monitoring of animal movements and a simultaneous measurement of temperature and humidity within the cowshed. The behaviour of cows has been obtained by the analysis of a recorded video and expressed through indices. A strict relationship between environmental parameters and animal movement has been confirmed by the results obtained. The proportion of animals resting in stalls during the daytime, not affected by milking or feeding, rised from 30% in hot periods to 75% in winter time. The highly significant (P<0.01) correlation obtained between environmental parameters and cow behaviour confirmed the strong influence of THI on total proportion of lying cows. However, the variation in cow behaviour when temperature values were inside the range considered optimal for cows, suggests the influence of other parameters, like direct radiation.
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Copyright (c) 2009 Giorgio Provolo, Elisabetta Riva
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