Tips To Assess Dairy Cow Behavior
Cow comfort has been increasingly receiving attention lately. Here are some tips to identify the cow behaviors and consider how changes in these behavior can help you identify issues in the herd:
1) Feeding - Any decrease in the amount of time a cow spends at feed bunk may indicate metritis, ketosis or locomotion disorders.
2) Isolation - Isolation may occur before calving.
3) Social - Cows will develop social hierarchy within a herd. Cows lower in the social hierarchy are displaced at the feed bunk more as compared to cows ranked higher in the social hierarchy.
4) Estrous - Restlessness, chin resting on other cows, standing heat, increase periods of walking are all behaviors that may indicate estrous in a cow.
5) Maternal - After calving, cows will lick their calves to stimulate calf activity and dry the calf's coat.
6) Lying - Around 6 hours before calving, cows will increase the amount of frequency lying but will decrease overall time spent lying.
7) Drinking - Cow will increase water consumption during heat stress condition but will decrease their time spent drinking prior to calving.
8) Standing - A week prior to calving, cows diagnosed with ketosis will spend more time standing.
9) Tongue rolling - Increase amount of tongue rolling within a herd may indicate restrictive feeding.
10) Agonistic - as feeding bunk space decreases, cows may show increasing aggressive behaviors.