Behavior of dairy cattle queuing in the waiting area before the milking parlor in a pasture based system.
Dusseldorp, S.L. van
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Monitoring stress in dairy cows is important, as it is suggested to decrase milk production and welfare. Queuing in the waiting area before the milking parlor could cause stress in dairy cows, and it is therefore an interesting subject for research. A suggested way to monitor stress in animals is by observing the frequency of changes in behavior. Behavioral diversity csn be calculated using the Shannon-Weaver-Diversity-Index (SW-index). This study investigated whether queuing for the milking parlor causes stress in dairy cows by scan sampling the behavior of 107 dairy cows using an ethogram. The behavioral diversity was calculated using the SW-index. Several factors possibly influencing the behavior of dairy cows were monitored and comparedbwith the SW-indices in a multiple linear regression model. The results show that waiting time influences the SW-index positively. Assuming that stress an be indicated by the diversity of an animals' behavior, this study shows that queuing before the milking parlor is a causal factor for stress in dairy cows.