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On the influence of the alternation of two different cooling systems on dairy cow daily activities

Simona M.C. Porto, Alessandro D'Emilio, Giovanni Cascone
  • Simona M.C. Porto
    Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Building and Land Engineering Section, University of Catania, Italy
  • Alessandro D'Emilio
    Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Building and Land Engineering Section, University of Catania, Italy | ademilio@unict.it
  • Giovanni Cascone
    Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Building and Land Engineering Section, University of Catania, Italy

Abstract

Among the causes that influence cow welfare, heat stress induced by microclimatic conditions is one of the most relevant and many studies have investigated the efficacy of different cooling systems on animal health status. Nevertheless, the direct influence of the cooling systems on possible modifications of dairy cow behaviour has been addressed in a few studies and the related results were affected by the presence of a paddock, which gave a refuge from hot temperature. Since an alteration of the daily time budget spent by dairy cows in their usual activities can be associated with changes in their health status, this study investigated the effects of the alternation of two different cooling systems on lying, standing, and feeding behaviour of a group of dairy cows bred in a free-stall dairy house where animals had no access to a paddock. The barn was equipped with a fogging system associated with forced ventilation installed in the resting area and a sprinkler system associated with forced ventilation installed in the feeding area. The two systems were activated alternately. The results demonstrated that the management of the two cooling systems affected the analysed behaviours. Though the activation of the cooling system installed in the resting area encouraged the decubitus of animals in the stalls, the activation of that one of the feeding alley could not be able to influence the standing behaviour and had only a moderate positive influence on the feeding activity.

Keywords

Animal welfare; breeding environment; heat stress; microclimate control.

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Submitted: 2016-06-22 17:17:03
Published: 2017-02-17 14:26:06
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Copyright (c) 2017 Simona M.C. Porto, Alessandro D'Emilio, Giovanni Cascone

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