Effect of continuous keeping on pasture on heat expression of dairy cows
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70% of the fertility problems are caused by bad heat detection. But not only the farmer is the cause of this, cows should show their behaviour better too. The length of oestrus differs between cows and only half of the cows will show standing heat. Another big issue is the husbandry. In The Netherlands, dairy cows are most of the time kept on concrete slatted floors. This will not stimulate the cows to show their oestrous behaviour. In New Zealand cows are kept on pasture all year long, which is more natural. Furthermore, in New Zealand the cows are selected on fertility for decades and they have a seasonal calving system. In this study 433 cows in New Zealand are observed and scored with de scoring system of Van Eerdenburg et al., (1996) to compare these results with studies done in The Netherlands. Of these 433, 261 cows did score 50 points or more in 24 hours. Average score per oestrus was 711,62 (SD 666,87) points. Mean score per 30 minutes observation was 388,58 (SD 351,97). 59,84% did show standing heat. The oestrous behaviour scores per observation are in this study in New Zealand (237,21) significantly higher than these scores in The Netherlands (121,15). There is no significant correlation found between oestrous behaviour scores and parity, milk yield or lactation stage. Also not between oestrous behaviour scores and the amount of cows in heat at the same time. There was a significant correlation between oestrous behaviour score and environmental temperature and wind speed. The cows and their behaviour are changing, so we have to learn how to look better at the cows to get our benefits of them or keep cows in a more natural environment so they can show their behaviour better.