Interplay between productive traits, the social rank and the cow's stability in the order of entrance to the milking parlour

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Vargas-Bello-Perez, E., Bastías-Ruz, J., Toro-Mujica, P., Teixeira, D. L. and Enriquez-Hidalgo, D. 2020. Interplay between productive traits, the social rank and the cow's stability in the order of entrance to the milking parlour. The Journal of Agricultural Science. https://doi.org/10.1017/S002185962000088X

AuthorsVargas-Bello-Perez, E., Bastías-Ruz, J., Toro-Mujica, P., Teixeira, D. L. and Enriquez-Hidalgo, D.
Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate whether social rank (SR) and stability in the order of entrance to the milking parlour are associated with production traits. The study was conducted on a dairy farm where cows (n = 215) were managed in three groups according to lactation stage (group 1: 78 cows, 0–100 days in milk (DIM); group 2: 65 cows, 101–200 DIM and group 3: 72 cows, >200 DIM). SR was calculated from observations made from agonistic behaviour performed at the water troughs and feed bunks of each pen (n = 3). The animals were classified into three levels of dominance based on at least five clear interactions, resulting in: 61 dominant, 75 intermediate and 69 subordinate cows based on SR. Stability in the order of entry was estimated as the standard deviation of the entry position. SR was weakly correlated with milk yield, urea and protein content in milk. The results showed that stable cows had higher milk production and entered the milking parlour after the non-stable animals. Stability in the order of entry to the milking parlour was not affected by SR. Overall, the use of milking facilities appears to be associated with production traits rather than SR.

KeywordsAnimal welfare; Dairy; Milking order; Social hierarchy
Year of Publication2020
JournalThe Journal of Agricultural Science
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/S002185962000088X
Web address (URL)https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-agricultural-science/article/interplay-between-productive-traits-the-social-rank-and-the-cows-stability-in-the-order-of-entrance-to-the-milking-parlour/C590032799ADBDD6ED092DD560FE404C
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online04 Nov 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted28 Sep 2020
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN0021-8596

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