The effects of feed bunk competition on the feed sorting behavior of close-up dry cows.

Abstract

The objectives of this research were to describe the feed sorting, feeding behavior, and feed intake of cows consuming a close-up ration and to determine if these behaviors are affected by competition for access to the feed bunk. Thirty-six dry Holstein cows, consuming a close-up total mixed ration diet, were assigned to 1 of 2 treatments: 1) noncompetitive (1 cow/feed bin) or 2) competitive (2 cows/feed bin). Dry matter intake, feeding behavior, and sorting behavior were monitored for each feed bin on 4 separate days during wk 2 and 3 before the anticipated calving dates of the cows. Fresh feed and orts were sampled daily from each bin and were subjected to particle size analysis. The particle size separator consisted of 3 screens (18, 9, and 1.18 mm) and a bottom pan resulting in 4 fractions (long, medium, short, and fine). Sorting was calculated as the actual intake of each particle size fraction expressed as a percentage of the predicted intake of that fraction. Regardless of treatment, the cows sorted against long particles and for short and fine particles. Competition at the feed bunk had no effect on the sorting behavior, dry matter intake, or feeding time of the cows, but did dramatically increase the feeding rate of the cows. The competitively fed cows also had fewer meals per day, and tended to have larger and longer meals. Our results suggest that increased competition at the feed bunk promotes feeding behavior patterns that will likely increase the between-cow variation in composition of total mixed ration consumed.

DOI: 10.3168/jds.2007-0679

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@article{Hosseinkhani2008TheEO, title={The effects of feed bunk competition on the feed sorting behavior of close-up dry cows.}, author={Ali Hosseinkhani and Trevor J Devries and Kathryn L Proudfoot and Rezvan Valizadeh and Doug M Veira and Marina A.G. von Keyserlingk}, journal={Journal of dairy science}, year={2008}, volume={91 3}, pages={1115-21} }