Negative energy balance of dairy cows: Association with behavior and minimizing risk
The overall objective of my thesis research was to develop a further understanding of how negative energy balance (NEB) relates to the behavior of dairy cows and how to minimize the risk of NEB in early lactation. In a first study, where cows were diet-induced into a state of NEB, it was demonstrated that greater NEB was associated with greater selection for the more energy-dense components of the diet and against the longer-less energy dense fractions of the diet, especially when fed a diet that is easily sorted. In a second study, it was determined that the supplementation of a molasses-based liquid feed through an automated milking system to fresh cows had a tendency to improve cow metabolic health. Cows receiving the additional energy supplement demonstrated improved energy balance and lost less body condition across the first 60 days in milk.