Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2011, 59, 315-322
Published online 2014-03-23

Effect of lactation stage, its number, current milk performance and barn air temperature on laterality of Holstein dairy cows laying behaviour

Petra Zejdová, Daniel Falta, Gustav Chládek, Ladislav Máchal

Ústav chovu a šlechtění zvířat, Mendelova univerzita v Brně, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Česká republika

The aim of this study was to determine effect of lactation stage and number, current milk performance and ambient temperature on laterality of dairy cows laying behaviour (i.e. preference of either left or right body side). The monitoring was performed at the University Training Farm in Žabčice, Czech Republic, (geographical coordinates 49° 0’4’’ N and 16° 36’ E, the altitude 179 m) within the six warmest months of the year 2010 (i.e. from 1 April 2010 to 30 September 2010). Observed were altogether 70 Holstein dairy cows with the average daily milk production of 34.48 kg of milk, which were kept in loose housing boxes with bedding (size of boxes: 2500 mm x 1250 mm). Animals were directly observed once a week (always at 9.00 a.m.). In the course of observation, the position of dairy cows in the barn was exactly recorded. In case of laying animals, it was recorded on which body side they were resting. Altogether 1,239 records of laying position of individual dairy cows were analysed and it was found out that the experimental animals preferred the left body side of their body (left and right laterality was observed in 671 and 568 animals, respectively). This left-side laterality was more frequent among animals in later stages of lactation (more than 200 days) and also in dairy cows with a higher number of lactations (4th and more). Dairy cows with a below-average milk performance rested on their left body side more frequently than those with a high level of milk production. As compared with average and/or low air temperatures, the left laterality was more frequent in periods of high ambient temperatures.


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