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Factors associated with time spent lying down and mastitis in free-stall-housed cows

M. E. A. Watters, K. M. A. Meijer, H. W. Barkema, K. E. Leslie, M. A. G. von Keyserlingk, T. J. DeVries

RISK of mastitis in dairy cows has been shown to be negatively associated with the time spent standing after milking. Directly following milking, the teat canals are open, and cows which lie down during this period can come into contact with udder pathogens. This Canadian study aimed to determine what factors are associated with lying behaviour in free-stall-housed cows and to relate these findings to individual cow somatic cell counts (SCCs).

Five commercial dairy farms with free-stall housing, predominantly Holstein-Friesian cows and which milked cows three times a day participated in the study. Forty cows were randomly selected from each herd to be monitored, although not all were monitored for the duration of the study. SCCs were taken approximately once every 35 days for around 140 days from the selected cows. Lying behaviours were recorded using data loggers attached to the hindlimbs. Data on individual milking times, milk production, time interval between feed delivery and milking time, lameness, housing practices, herd management practices and parity …

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