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Sensor based eating time variables of dairy cows in the transition period related to the time to first service
- Hut, P.R., Mulder, A., van den Broek, J., Hulsen, J.H.J.L., Hooijer, G.A., Stassen, E.N., van Eerdenburg, F.J.C.M., Nielen, M.
- Preventive veterinary medicine 2019 v.169 pp. 104694
- calving, commercial farms, dairy cows, eating habits, energy balance, feeding behavior, ingestion, insemination, models, neck, observational studies, reproductive disorders, reproductive performance, standard deviation, variance, Netherlands
- In dairy cattle, reproductive diseases and infertility are some of the most important reasons for culling, where postpartum negative energy balance (NEB) reduces reproductive performance. This single cohort observational study reports the association between eating time and the interval between calving and first service in 2036 dairy cows on 17 commercial farms in The Netherlands. Cows were equipped with a commercially available neck sensor (Nedap, Groenlo, The Netherlands), that measured the time cows spent eating, from 28 days (d) before until 28 d after parturition. Primiparous cows spent a mean of +45 minutes (min) eating time per day ante partum and +15 min eating time post partum more than multiparous cows. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to analyze eating time variables in relation to the interval between calving and first service. From 4 weeks before until 4 weeks after calving eating time variables per week were used. Weeks -4, -3 + 3 and +4 were used as weeks with stable eating time patterns and therefore the mean eating time per week and the standard deviation of the mean eating time per week were used. Weeks -2, -1, +1 and +2 were addressed as periods with unstable eating patterns and therefore the slope in eating time per week and the residual variance of the slope per week were modeled. Significant results were the mean eating time in week -4 and +3 where in both weeks higher eating time lead to a higher hazard for first service. Difference between primiparous and multiparous cows were also significant with a higher hazard for first service for primiparous cows. Week 4 post partum presented a significant difference between eating time of primiparous cows and multiparous cows. These results display how eating time variables in the transition period could be related to the interval between calving and first service, and that there is a relation between mean eating time in week -4, +3, +4 and the interval between calving and first insemination.