Feed intake and social behaviour among group-fed cows in loose housing. 2. Factors affecting individual intake of grass silage given to appetite

Krohn, C.C.; Konggaard, S.P.

Beretning fra Statens Husdyrbrugsforsoeg 441: 26


Accession: 000377549

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2. A total of 63 Danish Friesian cows, 20 in their first lactation, were fed on grass silage to appetite, a restricted amount of fodder beet and a concentrate mixture according to average roughage intake and milk production. Silage intake, estimated by chromic oxide, was 4.5-11.7 kg DM/cow daily in 1973 and 7.0 to 14.6 in 1974; the higher intake in 1974 was due to the lower fibre content and higher digestibility of organic matter of the silage. During both years the cows in their first lactation ate less silage than the older cows. Within the older cows social rank was the only single factor which affected silage intake. No significant difference in total eating time and number of visits at the feed bunker was found between older and younger cows. Among the older cows those with high rank had significantly higher daily gain over 130 days after calving in 1974 than the low-ranking cows. There was no relationship between milk production and rank between the older high-ranking or low-ranking cows and the younger cows. The conclusion was that the strongest cows, high-ranking, ate significantly more silage and put on greater weight daily than the weaker cows, low-ranking, but the higher silage intake did not result in a higher milk production.