Number of calves per feed trough affects calves' feeding behavior and production

I. Halachmi, A. Asher, R. Agmon, M. Mazarib, A. Zoabi, A. Antler, A. Orlov, A. Shabtay, A. Brosh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The needed 'feeding-space-for-animal' plays a role in (1) the farm design process, (2) managing decisions concerning seasonal animal inventory, (3) public perception - since space for animal is an animal welfare issue, (4) in a research station where individual feeding troughs are located on weighing scales - how many animals should be allocated to one feeding station without interfering production or behaviour?. A common practice is the number of troughs is at-least number of animals. In some cases 20% higher. However the consequence of enlarging the 'feeding-space-for-animal (FSFA)' has not yet being scientifically fully explored. Twelve Holstein-Friesian male calves were held in one single group. Six calves were allocated to one single feeding trough per 6 calves (so called the 6: 1 treatment) while the other six calves were allocated 1 feeding trough per 1 calf (so called 1: 1 treatment). Computer controlled TMR feeding system monitored every meal and pneumatic cylinders controlled the calves' access to the feed places. The experiment lasted from June to October 2010, at the ARO's northern research station - Newe Yaar. The crossover experiment design included (a) prior to each monitoring period-3-4 weeks adaptation to the feeding troughs allocation, and (b) crossover: after the first monitoring period the 1: 1 calves switched to 6: 1 treatment and vice versa. (c) 60970 meals and 17160 ruminate bouts were analysed by Matlab statistical toolbox. The difference between individual animals, gain per intake ratio, reached 28%. Results suggest that social interaction and computation prolonged a meal time and encouraged the animals to consume more kg feed per a meal. As a consequence, the final kg was higher. The conclusion is that simple, low-cost, manipulation in feeding behaviour can significantly increase production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrecision Livestock Farming 2011 - Papers Presented at the 5th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2011
EditorsDaniel Berckmans, C. Lokhorst
PublisherCzech Centre for Science and Society
Pages59-69
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9788090483040
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event5th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2011 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 11 Jul 201114 Jul 2011

Publication series

NamePrecision Livestock Farming 2011 - Papers Presented at the 5th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2011

Conference

Conference5th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2011
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
CityPrague
Period11/07/1114/07/11

Keywords

  • Dry matter intake (DMI)
  • Feed efficiency (FE)
  • Total mixed ratio (TMR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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