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Effect of suckling during early lactation and changeover to machine milking on plasma oxytocin and cortisol levels and milking characteristics in Holstein cows

Effect of suckling during early lactation and changeover to machine milking on plasma oxytocin and cortisol levels and milking characteristics in Holstein cows

Journal of Dairy Research 62(2): 249-256

Plasma concentrations of oxytocin and cortisol, and milk yield and flow rates, were compared in three primiparous cows and two cows in their second lactation during suckling and subsequent machine milking. After calving, cows suckled their calves for 3-4 weeks and then the experiment was carried out over 4 d. Blood samples were taken prior to, during and after suckling or evening machine milking (EMM) on day 1 of the experiment (the last day of suckling), day 2 (first EMM) and day 4 (third EMM). After weaning and rehousing, cows were machine milked twice daily. During the first EMM, average milk yield and flow rate in the second minute of milking were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than corresponding values for the other 2 d. Plasma oxytocin concentrations were lower during the first than during the third EMM (P < 0.001) and suckling (P < 0.001), and more oxytocin was released during the third EMM than during suckling (P < 0.01). Cortisol concentrations were higher during and after the first EMM than during the third EMM. Thus in cows sucked for several weeks after calving and then separated from their calves and rehoused we found a transient decrease in oxytocin release, milk yield and flow rates during the first machine milking.

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Accession: 002604997

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 7601972

DOI: 10.1017/s0022029900030958

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