Influence of feed delivery frequency on behavioural activity of dairy cows in freestall barns

  • Elisabetta Riva
  • Gabriele Mattachini
  • Luciana Bava
  • Anna Sandrucci
  • Alberto Tamburini
  • Giorgio Provolo |


Research on feeding management in more competitive free-stall settings indicates that frequency of delivery of fresh feed stimulates feed bunk attendance and can affect other aspects of cows’ time budgets apart from feeding such as time spent standing vs. lying down. The objective of this study was to examine how the frequency of feed delivery affects the behavior in two farms, one with a conventional and one with automatic milking system (AMS). The feeding frequency was varied from two to three times per day in the conventional dairy farm; one to two times per day in the AMS farm. The experiment was carried out in two different seasons. All behaviours of the cows were monitored in continuous by video recording. As expected, behavioral indices have been significantly affected by environmental conditions both in conventional farm and AMS farm. The variation in the frequency of feed delivery seems to affect the cow behavioural activity only in a limited way and modify only slightly the daily averages of the time spent in different activities mainly increasing the time cows spend standing (+4- 5%).


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dairy cows, behaviour, environmental condition, automatic milking system.
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Riva, E., Mattachini, G., Bava, L., Sandrucci, A., Tamburini, A., & Provolo, G. (2013). Influence of feed delivery frequency on behavioural activity of dairy cows in freestall barns. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 44(2s).

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