The objective of this study was to assess changes to cow behaviour when decreasing milking frequency from twice a day (TAD) to three milkings in two days (3-in-2). CowManager SensOor™ ear tags were attached to cows (n=29) for 15 days before, and 30 days after, transitioning to 3-in-2. To investigate general trends, paired t-tests were used to compare means between activity types (time spent active, highly active, not active, eating or ruminating) and milking frequency. After transitioning to 3-in-2 milking, the total time active was greater (+32.3 mins/cow/day; SEM 6.46), whilst the time spent eating (-16.2 mins/cow/day; SEM 7.57) and ruminating (-12.7 mins/cow/day; SEM 3.59) decreased. These differences were inconsistent between daylight and dark hours. These results indicate that the extra time spent in the paddock by the cows due to a 3-in-2 milking schedule was spent active, potentially due to social interaction and feed-searching behaviours, with a decrease in rumination and eating behaviours. Key words: Milking frequency; behaviour; activity; transition.

LS, Hall, RH Bryant, and JP Edwards

New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production, Volume 81, Online, 51-53, 2021
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