Feeding behavior and performance of dairy cows during the transition period seven days before and after calving

Mário José Giannasi Scala, José Antonio Fregonesi, Ivone Yurika Mizubuti, Daniel Martin Weary, Marina von Keyserlingk, Douglas Veira, Andressa Amorim Oliveira, Lizanne Steunenberg


Dairy cows experience challenges during the transition period, which may put them at risk of diseases such as rumen acidosis and laminitis. The traditional recommendations during the transition period is to feed dairy cows on moderate level of concentrates in the pre-partum and switch it to high grain diet just after calving. However, there are some evidences that this management may cause a bump effect on the feeding intake in the post-partum period. The aim of this work was to study the effect of a constant diet during all transition period on the behaviour; feeding intake and milk yield of dairy cows. Thirty primiparous and multiparous Holstein dairy cows were at random allocated in one group fed on higher fibre diet in the pre-partum followed by a higher concentrate diet in the post-partum (traditional management) and in a second group fed constantly on a higher fibre diet during all transition period. The behaviour and the feeding intake were monitored by an electronic feeding system and data loggers and milk yield data obtained in the milking parlour computer. The animals fed on the constant diet spent more time eating ration in second day post-partum, 142 minutes/day and cows in traditional recommendations 105minutes/day, while cows fed on lactation diet just after calving had higher dry matter intake in day 1 averaging 2.2 kg/day/100 kg LW but not in the following days, longer for cows receiving the constant diet the DMI was 1.7 kg/day/100 kg LW. There were no significant differences between the two diets related to milk yield (P>0.05). Cows fed diets constant throughout the transition period produced an average of 29.0 ± 8.2 liters of milk/day, while those who received traditional treatment ration with the highest concentrate after birth, produced an average of 29.1 ± 7.5 liters of milk/day. These results do not allow to a final conclusion about the recommendation to delay or not to switch diet after post-partum to avoid the bump in dry matter intake during early post-partum.


Feeding behaviour; Feeding management; Transition period; Milk production; Holstein cows.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5433/1679-0359.2011v32n4p1605

Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433/1679-0359
E-mail: semina.agrarias@uel.br
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional