Regularity of Dairy Cow Feeding Behavior with Computer-Controlled Feeders1, 2 Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The regularity with which cows visit a computerized concentrate feeding station was investigated under two fixed-time feeding routines with four and six equal diurnal feeding intervals (feeding windows). The experiment was conducted using an Israeli commercial dairy herd, and space was sufficient for cow traffic related to feeding. In both trials, a regular diurnal pattern of feeding in accordance with programmed feed availability could be observed within feeding windows. Concentrates were consumed in the same feeding window in which they were allotted in 95 to 97% of the cases. Patterns of feeding events and visits to a feeding station within a feeding window were identical for both feeding routines investigated. Distributions of feeding intervals for individual cows point to a definite feeding order in the herd rather than a random sequence of the cows feeding within a feeding window. Number and timing of visits to the feeding station were quickly reoriented to the new system of feeding windows. Cow behavior was based on an understanding of and adaptation to the proposed feeding routines, rather than being a result of periodic visits to feeding station, regardless of the feeding program, thus indicating ability to control this behavior.

publication date

  • February 1, 1995