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  • Jin Gan

Impact Of Pen Moves On Performance Of Cow

Impact Of Pen Moves On Performance Of Cow

Moving cows is a very important activity and requires great attention. During fragile stages of their life cycle, pen moves will impact the cow's performance.

The Changes Of The Transition Period

  • A critical time period during cow's life cycle is during transition period.

  • This transition is around 6 weeks including 3 weeks before calving and 3 weeks after calf is born.

  • Many changes will occur during this period.

  • Pen moves during transition period can have negative impact on the amount of feed consumed by the cow.

  • During this period, cows will be less inclined to eat and pen moves will make dry matter intake decline even more.

Considerations Before Pen Moves

  • Avoid unnecessary pen moves:

  • The goal is to reduce stress during transition period.

  • When you maintain best possible environment, cows are more inclined to eat.

  • Avoid unnecessary pen changes if possible as each move will cause a drop in feed intake.

  • If moves are unavoidable, move the animals once a week and in groups of 10 animals or more.

  • Group the cows correctly:

  • One of the reason the cows eat less is due to animal dominance especially when younger females are grouped with older cows.

  • Separate younger cows from older ones to encourage feed intake and minimise dominance of older cows.

Following Pen Moves

  • Dry matter intake:

  • Dry matter intake will decrease after pen moves. Therefore, pay attention and ensure their appetites return quickly.

  • If individual cows are not eating, immediately inform herd manager so that the animal can be examined and treated.

  • Milk production:

  • How much milk a cow produce will also depend on how she responds to a pen change.

  • Ensure that high quality ration is delivered to the herd so that they have sufficient nutrients for peak performance.

  • Behaviour:

  • Ensure all cows have ample bunk space, access to clean water at all time and are not stressed out.

Protocols For Feeding During Pen Change

  • It is important to have a plan before pen moves. Questions to ask include:

  • Is it necessary that pen moves occur?

  • How can we reduce stress on the animals during pen moves?

  • Is there ample bunk space for the cows?

  • Are cows having access to clean and fresh water at all times?

During critical stages of a cow's lactation stage such as transition period, how they are treated during moves and how they respond to their environment can directly impact their performance.

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