Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2014, 62, 565-570

https://doi.org/10.11118/actaun201462030565
Published online 2014-08-06

The Effect of Temperature and Time of Day on Welfare Indices in Loose-housed Holstein Cows

Milena Velecká, Jana Javorová, Daniel Falta, Milan Večeřa, Jiří Andrýsek, Gustav Chládek

Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Agronomy, Department of Animal Breeding, Zemědělská 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic

This study was carried out with the aim to assess the effect of temperature and time of day on the values of welfare indices in Holstein dairy cows. The observation continued for one year and included 77 Holstein cows. The cows were loose-housed in one of the four sections of the barn with straw-bedded stalls. The cows were milked three times a day (at 4.00, 8.00 and 17.00). The barn is situated on Mendel University farm in Žabčice (the Czech Republic: GPS 49°0′51.786″N, 16°36′14.809″E). The air temperature was monitored with three sensors fitted at the level of the animals’ whithers in 15-minute intervals. The following welfare indices were evaluated: CCI (the Cow Comfort Index), CCI* (the modified Cow Comfort Index which reflects the motivation to lie down), SSI (the Stall Standing Index) and PEL (the Proportion Eligible Lying). The maximal CCI values (above 90%) and the minimal SSI values (below 10%) were found (in the barn in Zabcice) at temperatures up to 30 °C. The maximal CCI* values (above 70%) only occurred at temperatures up to 20 °C. The maximal PEL values (above 80%) were detected at temperatures up to 25 °C. The maximal CCI values (above 90%) as well as the minimal SSI values (below 10%) were found in the period between 9.00 and 12.00 (+1 to +3 hours after milking). The maximal PEL values (above 80%) occurred in the period between 9.00 and 16.00 (+1 to +8 hours after milking). The maximal CCI* values (above 70%) were detected between 14.00 and 15.00 (+6 to +7 hours after milking). CCI* index appears to be more eligible for welfare assessment compared to CCI index. This study could have a practical impact on cattle husbandry because it may help the farmers secure adequate husbandry conditions for the animals and thus positively affect milk production.

References

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