CZAAWE Resource Article

The effect of temporary deprivation of lying and feeding on the behaviour and production of lactating dairy cows
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
1751-7311 1751-732X
Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of depriving dairy cows of the ability to feed and lie down for short periods, on behaviour and production. In experiment 1, cows were deprived by confining them in pairs in a pen for 2 or 4 h, and they more frequently exhibited behaviour likely to suggest discomfort – leg stamping, repositioning themselves, shifting their weight between legs and butting. After deprivation, the cows deprived for 2 h made up their lost feeding time within 24 h, but cows deprived for 4 h did not restore their feeding time within the 41-h period of observation. Lying time was not restored in either treatment within the 41-h period. Milk yield was not affected by the treatment. However, in experiment 2, when cows were deprived of feeding and lying for 4 h, during which time their hooves were trimmed (which is likely to be a painful and stressful procedure and result in some discomfort for a period post-trimming) the evidence suggested that milk yield was reduced by approximately 2 l/day for 3 days, with corresponding increases during the subsequent 2 days. Walking speed on returning to the herd was the same as before the treatment. In summary, temporary deprivation of feeding and lying for 2 and 4 h/day induced behaviours that were indicative of discomfort and frustration but had no negative effect on milk production, except when 4 h of deprivation was accompanied by foot trimming.