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South African Journal of Animal Science

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Effect of confinement area on production, physiological parameters and behaviour of Friesian cows during winter in a temperate climate

C.J.C. Muller, J.A. Botha, W.A. Smith

Abstract


In mild climatic regions, open camp systems (dry lots) may be used for dairy cattle. These have a lower capital investment cost than intensive housing systems although the management of open camps is more difficult. The effect of (a) an earthen mound within an open camp and (b) different camp sizes on the production performance, some physiological parameters and behaviour of Dutch-type Friesian cows were determined over two winter seasons. The feed intake of cows in the earthen mound camp was higher( P < 0.05) than that of cows in the smaller camp. Production and physiological parameters of cows, however, did not differ (P > 0.05) between camps with and without an earthen mound. Similarly production and physiological parameters of cows in camps of different sizes (100 vs 200 m2/cow) did not differ (P > 0.05). The ground surface of the large camp was drier than that of the small camp resulting in cleaner crows (P < 0.01) while the washing time of udders at milking was shorter (P < 0 01). Cows in the small camp stood for longer periods (P < 0.01) to avoid lying down in wet areas. Cows in the large camp spent more time (P < 0.01) lying down. Although no difference in production parameters was observed in both trials, an earthen mound and camps of at least 100 m2/cow may be necessaryin high rainfall areas.

Melkkoeie kan in 'n omgewing met 'n gematigde klimaat in oopkampstelsels aangehou word. Dit het 'n laer kapitale insetkoste in vergelyking met intensiewe behuisingstelsels maar die bestuur daarvan is moeiliker. Die invloed van (a) 'n grondhoop binne 'n oop kamp en (b) kampe van verskillende groottes op die melkproduksie, enkele fisiologiese parameters en gedrag van Hollandse tipe Frieskoeie is gedurende twee winterperiodes bepaal. Koeie met toegang tot die grondhoop in die oop kamp het hoër (P < 0.05) voerinnames gehad as koeie sonder 'n grondhoop. Produksie-en fisiologiese parameters van koeie met of sonder die grondhoop het nie verskil nie (P > 0.05). Soortgelyke parameter het ook nie verskil (P > 0.05) tussen koeie wat in kampe ven verskillende groottes (100 vs 200 m2/koei) aangehou is nie. Die grondoppervlak van die groter kamp was droër as die kleiner kamp sodat koeie skoner (P < 0.01) was terwyl die wastyd van uiers met melking korter was (P < 0.01). Koeie in die kleiner kamp het vir langer periodes (P < 0.01) gestaan om nat toestande te vermy. Koeie in die groot kamp het vir langer periodes gêle (P < 0.01). Hoewel produksieparameters in albei ondersoeke nie verskil het nie, mag 'n grondhoop in kamp en kampe van ten minste 100 m2/koei in dele met 'n hoë reënval noodsaaklik te wees.

Keywords: Dairy cows, feed intake, earthen mound, dry lots, camp size, temperate climate.




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